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

NCFI Cares: Strategies for Rest

So he ate and drank and lay down again (1 Kings 19:6)

As Elijah rested under the broom tree, he received rest and nourishment. Many times, when we think of “rest” we think of vacations or going on holiday. Travel may not be possible due to restrictions or personal schedules, and there may be difficulties with taking a holiday, an extended weekend, or even an extra day off from work.  In addition, many nurses have kids and spouses home for remote working or virtual learning. Now more than ever, we need to be creative with finding rest.

Here are some tips for Power doses of individual rest:

  • 2 minute break while working

            A friend of mine recently discussed how a quick “bathroom break” during a busy nursing shift can be a well-deserved moment to regroup. Sounds hilarious at first, but if you are overwhelmed with the needs of patients, family, and staff, a quick bathroom break is an opportunity to breath and repeat scripture. If you think this only applies to nurses, many moms of young children tell me a “bathroom break” gives them time to themselves amidst the crying and demanding needs of babies and toddlers.

  • A few hours

            Connect with your spouse or a friend to coordinate a few hours of rest and relaxation. For example, you may take the morning and go for a walk while your spouse or friend watches the kids, does the laundry, etc. Then, switch. I would encourage making this a weekly activity, even if it is only for 2 hours. Don’t fall into the trap of grocery shopping, or household stuff during your rest time—that is NOT rest.

  • Do something different for rest.

If you normally exercise, then take the time and read a book, or vice versa. Mixing up our activities can help our over-worked brains and bodies reframe events into relaxation. This can be a time to try a new hobby or activity.

What we do with our rest time is just as important as the rest. In our culture of constantly being connected via phone, it is challenging to “rest” from social media, messaging, and notifications. Stop or mute “notifications” from popping-up on the phone. This is an important reminder. Rest includes putting the phone aside.

One Bible commentator stated, “How interesting. God remembers that we are frail. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He is mindful that we possess material bodies that must be cared for, often, before the spiritual part can function (Ps. 103:14).”

NCFI Cares: The Simplest Prayer

Many of us our familiar with Peter, who after seeing Jesus walk across the Sea of Galilea, stepped out of the boat and walked on water with Jesus.  At some point in his miraculous steps, Peter became frightened and began sinking into the water and cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:23-33). These 3 simple words form the basis of the most powerful, simplest prayer. A simple pray that can guide us in teaching our patients how to pray.

First, we guide our patients in calling out to the only one who can help them, “Lord.” We don’t pray to a cosmic force, an unknown god nor one of the many god’s worshiped in other religions. Instead, we call out to the Almighty God through our Savior.

Second, is the action verb “save”. This simple 4 letter word communicates so much of the human experience. An English dictionary gives the following definitions for “save”: rescue from danger or from pain and fear; spare the individual from suffering, anxiety, or the unknown; and stop the spread of illness, infection, or cancer. And of course, the verb “save” is also used to communicate the need for forgiveness and life void of a Savior (Luke 19:10; Romans 10:13).

The final word “me” is more than a personal pronoun. It is an intimate identification as a child of God. That the Lord of heaven, the Creator of the Universe knows each hair on our head, cells in our bodies, and days of our lives.Together, “Lord, save me” is a simple prayer that anyone can learn. It communicates the magnitude needs of humanity calling out to the only power able to change the situation. Next time your patients or clients are new Christians, experiencing pain or discomfort, or too distraught to pray, teach them to this simple prayer. Then you can rest in confidence knowing the Lord will answer their prayer.

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)

Christian Nursing 101: Intercessory Prayer: Differentiating the Source

When I first thought about writing this article, I wanted the title to be “Take Back Prayer in Nursing”. That is because I feel we have let prayer, communication between God and man, become a buzzword for anything spiritual. Once a reverent privilege to enter the throne room of God to speak praises, confession, or petitions to our holy Creator. Prayer has been relegated to an existential experience of sending positive thoughts, connecting with the universe, or random words to the unknown. My concern is not with non-Christian and their spiritual journey.  Instead it is with  Christians who espouse their prayers and petitions to a random receiver, or worse to evil spirits.

Thus, the article guides Christian nurses back to the tenets of our faith and Bible teaching on prayer. Since not all prayers are the same, Christians should be cautious when asked to pray for at least two reasons: who we pray to does matter and prayer is more than just reading a few lines.

Finally, we should strongly resist a compulsion to communicate with other gods, energy force or entities by patients, families, or staff. The Bible clearly teaches the \reality of evil spirits or demon world; which is in contradiction to God and Christ.

I would enjoy hearing more about your experience with non-Christian prayer in nursing.

Christian Nursing 101: A Global Heart for Nursing

LargeRollover.00005217-201807000-00000.CVIn this article I share ways nurses can share their global heart in nursing.

I will share with you my most recent prayer petitions for my global colleagues and patients:

The miraculous rescue of the soccer team and coach trapped inside a cave for 2 weeks in Thailand. There were medical teams, including nurses, at the cave site providing health care services to the divers during the planning stages of the rescue. Then, of course, once the boys and their coach were out of the cave, they provided EMS care en route to the hospital and at t hospital.

All 12 boys and soccer coach rescued

Besides the world-wide prayers that went out for the boys, the coach, and the rescue teams. This was also an opportunity to pray for our colleagues diligently working to save lives and restore health.

Share how you extend your nursing heart to our global colleagues.

 

 

 

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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Christian Nursing 101: Responding to Questions about After-Life

Do you believe Heaven is for real? Do you look forward to Heaven? And, if not, why not? As a nurse or health care provider, do you feel confident in your understanding and knowledge of the scriptural basis for Heaven, to share with a Christian patient or family member?

I have provided 3 excellent Christian resources on Heaven to guide your nursing practice and to encourage patients, families, friends, and fellow believers. …check them out. …

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada

Celebrate 100th NCFI CARES Devotion

 

NCFI Cares (Caring Across Regions with Encouraging Scripture)

Here are the links mentioned in the video:

CARES: Reflections for Nurses found at NCFI’s Institute of Christian Nursing website.

Lighting the Way: A handbook for Christian Nurses and Midwives

Christian Nursing 101 article 

Email sign-up ncfi.cares@gmail.com

 

Check out the category  “NCFI Cares” for the 99 other devotions!