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)

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

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: Three Gifts of Nurses

They entered the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh

Matthew 2:11

This is a wonderful time of year. We celebrate the miracle of the birth of Christ more than two thousand years ago. We ponder the magnificent events with shepherds, angels, and wisemen. The incredible wisemen followed the Christmas star that led them to Jesus, the future King of the Jews.  Upon their arrival they bowed in worship honoring this glorious infant. 

The treasures they carried on their journey were valuable and perfect for the Son of God. The gold, a gift for kings, recognized Jesus as King of Kings. The gift of frankincense, a substance burned as incense during worship, acknowledged Christ’ divinity as God. Myrrh used to prepare bodies for burial, indicated Jesus’ humanity and preparation for His future suffering. The gifts were significant for worshipping the Christ, as well as expensive and practical.

As Christian nurses we honor the King of Kings, Holy Son of God and Savior through previous gifts:

  • The vastness of our knowledge, skills, and experience, as well as our economic gains represents our gift of gold. We generous bring this regal gift to the King of King, who rules our nursing practice.
  • Our daily nursing care, inspired and sanctified by the Holy Spirt, is given as a fragrant offering and represents our gift of frankincense.
  • Our work among the suffering, the marginalized, the underrepresented, and poor represent our gift of myrrh. As Christ surrendered to the suffering, we surrender to care for humanity.

This Christmas season, take a few moments to reflect on these precious gifts given in truth and faith to our Lord. Our gifts in nursing are no less precious, practical, and priceless. The most mundane or disliked treatment is a fragrant offering to the Holy One. Our caring hands comfort the hurt and suffering of whom The Savior is kindred to; and, all our work points to the future reign of the King of Kings.

We Three Kings (with lyrics)

NCFI Cares: The Lord’s Presence: A Two-Fold Response to Despair

…the LORD was not in the wind…the LORD was not in the earthquake…the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

After Elijah received divine nourishment from the pre-incarnate Christ, he traveled for 40 days and 40 nights to a cave in the mountain Horeb. There he slept. The Lord awakened Elijah with the question, “Why are you here, Elijah?” Elijah once again explains his zealous service. This time, the Lord provided a two-fold response.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by (1 Kings 19:11).

 First, the LORD sent a powerful wind that caused landslides, earthquake, and fire. God was not in these powerful events. The presence of the LORD was in the soft whisper. Elijah covered his face recognizing the whisper as holy and divine. Bible scholars state the reason for the extreme weather events prior to the soft whisper, was to remind Elijah that God’s work is most often in the unseen things – like a changed heart.

            Then, the LORD provided Elijah with specific directions for his next steps in ministry.

“Go back the way you came…anoint Hazael king over Syria…anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet.” (1 Kings 19:15-16)

The Lord was clear to Elijah. He was not done. In fact, my personal thought is the Lord had a sense of humor by saying “Go back the way you came….”. Repeatedly the Lord has asked Elijah, “Why are you here?” This time, the Lord just sent him back into the ministry. Elijah’s sacrifice and work has not been in vain. There is a future prophet to mentor and 7000 faithful followers needing a leader.

As we conclude our time with Elijah, the Lord has the same two-fold response for us who are weary and are saying “It’s enough.”

First, God is with us! We have the Holy Spirit within us. He speaks as a soft whisper that we will recognize. We don’t need to hide in a cave to hear His voice. We can just open the Scriptures and hear His voice. During the most challenging and difficult time of Elijah’s ministry, the Lord reached out with a personal, intimate voice. Himself. Thus, we are assured that out of our suffering comes a deeper intimacy with Christ. A connecting that fills us with joy, grace, and peace (Romans 15:13).

Furthermore, don’t become discouraged when we do not witness the fruit of our ministry.  God may not eradicate COVID, poverty, nor suffering; God is moving in the hearts of people to achieve a faithful following. Listen for the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit who is working within our clinics and communities. (John 6:37).

Finally, God is not done with us! No matter how discouraged, depressed, or exhausted you may be, you still have work to do! Your ministry is not over. Opening our heart to the work God has called us to will extinguish those arrows of doubt and despair. (Ephesians 6:16)

For further study: Two Articles by J. H. Keathly III

15. The Crisis of Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-14) https://bible.org/seriespage/15-crisis-elijah-1-kings-194-14

16. The Restoration of Elijah 1 Kings 19:4-18, Keathly III,  J. H. https://bible.org/seriespage/16-restoration-elijah-1-kings-195-18