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

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.