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.

NCFI Cares: The Test from upon High

I wanted to share this guest devotion from my colleague in Argentina who provides godly wisdom during times of testing by the Lord. It is not only relevant. The timing of the devotion also demonstrates how the Lord impresses upon different members of the body of Christ to teach and encourage others during such a time as this. Peace of Christ to you, Carrie77ba6-ncficares_3bloglogoJames 1:12 “Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has proven to be genuine, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him.” Reading: James 1:12-18.

My friend listened silently, as the doctor gave a diagnosis, treatments, and a long list of explanations. The doctor, noticing my friend’s quietness, stopped and asked her, “Why are you not asking questions?” She replied, “I stopped listening when you said that my small son has Diabetes.”

A simple sentence “Your son has Diabetes.” is difficult for a mother to hear. As believers we ask the question, “How does God allow these things to happen?” The Word says, “Blessed is the man.” But, can you be happy for someone who receives this diagnosis? Is it a punishment or a test? It is common that we have a mistaken concept of what the word means by “test”. And it is common that we have a wrong concept of what means the word “proved”.

Abraham had a similar experience, yet more profound. After many years God gave him a son, whom then God asked Abraham to sacrifice (Genesis 22:9-12). How is it that we are before God a “friend” of ours delights in our suffering (James 2:23)? Often we have read that God not only proves us, but allows the test. But whom does God prove? God tests those he loves. Those who are his friends. Difficult as it is to understand, with the criteria of this world, but those of us who know God as our Creator we know that God is molding us.  Since he has given us form, it is possible that it hurts us, a tear never escapes from us. God is never going to leave us alone in the tests. Instead, he is gives us the assurance in his Word that will not just prove us beyond what we could expect.

The tests that come from upon High extracts qualities of light that God has been sowing in our heart: obedience, faith, humility, patience, and total dependence. If you have decided to serve the Lord prepare yourself for the test. Say to the Lord, “Here I am.” And in times of adversity you will be able to reach Peace.

Guest devotion by Martha Fernandez Moyano, Argentina, NCFI International Board Member

 

Share your story of endurance!

I am currently working on an article on Christian suffering. Hopefully, to be published in the Journal of Christian Nursing. A section of the article explores how we endure suffering while maturing our faith and deepening our relationship with Christ.  As I was researching, it occurred to me that I know many Christians who have persevered through cancer, chronic illnesses, grief, trauma, abuse and other travesties with the daily grace of Christ for the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17; 1 Peter 4:16)—Amen & PTL!

As I look to guide Christian nurses in both enduring suffering and supporting patients and families, I would love for you to share your personal experience. The current overarching themes I discuss in the article are: lamenting, humility, surrender/vulnerability, endurance, perseverance, joy, hope and alert to Satan. I am open to other concepts, themes or words the Lord has spoken into your suffering, so feel free to share.

You can share your experience or thoughts on Facebook, here in the blog, or privately via contact form (see below). Sharing your story gives me permission to take an excerpt of your story and possibly use it in the article. I can’t commit publication of any excerpt or content, for I am not the final editor. I will only use your first name or initials to preserve privacy.  At the same time, I do state the following disclaimer. If you are concerned about your privacy, then maybe it is not a good idea to share it with me.

My prayer and blessing for you is “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer, trusting in the one who is, who was and who is to come, amen.” (Romans 12:2; Revelation 1:8)

NCFI Cares: Celebrate Unity-a NCFI Values

ncfi-values-wordcloudOne of the coolest things about NCFI is the unified voice of Christian nursing. I am not saying everyone is in agreement, nor that there is never conflict. Disagreements are to be expected with any family, group or organization, especially considering the diversity of cultures, experience, education, and personalities NCFI represent.

What I am speaking more about is the unity of Christ manifested by the lack of individual denominations. In other words, the question “What denomination do you belong to?” or “Where do you go to church?” has never come up. I have attended 2 NCFI Congresses, International Board meetings, and various international conference calls and our focus has been on Christ-centered nursing.

We are all disciples, unique members of the body of Christ and unified for the same goal—equipping and encouraging Christian nurses to integrate Biblical principles and Christ centered values. Which, by the way, is our mission!

Ephesians 4:1-6 is a passage to anchor us to our purpose in NCFI:

“….I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Let’s take the unity of Christ beyond NCFI and into our daily nursing practice–committed to focusing on commonalities instead of areas of dispute while preserving our unified faith through the dwelling Spirit.

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What does the Nicene Creed have to do with Christian Nursing?

What does faith in nursing have to do with the Nicene Creed? I say “a lot!” To better explain myself, I need to share with you my history with the Nicene Creed. If you have read  a previous blog posting on January 2013, you will see that Tove Giske asked me to contribute four Christian nursing articles for the Journal of Faith and Profession a journal published in Norway, 2012. While I was praying and thinking about the series of articles, I thought of the 4 essential concepts to Christian nursing: Faith, Compassion, Prayer and Excellence. These topics became the 4 articles with accompanying Bible studies. After their publication, I compiled the 4 together with international edits, etc to create  Our Faithful Journey in Nursing: A Teaching on Faith, Compassion, Prayer, and Excellence in Nursing (available as an eReader through Amazon).

It was while I was researching and writing the article on Faith, that I came across the Nicene Creed. My home church and denomination does not use any creed or written prayer as part of the liturgical service. I experienced the congregation reciting the creed as a statement of faith  when I attended other Christian services, like Catholic, etc.

Also, during this time around 2011-2012, I was researching and learning about the postmodern philosophy and culture exploding in the USA and other western societies. In a nut shell, postmodern philosophy denies absolutes, objectivity, and dogmatism to one of relativism, subjectivism, and tolerance. For Christians, who hold to a faith defined by Truth (big T–God) and obedience to rules, postmodern philosophy is in sharp contrast to our faith.

I have also been a student of world religions. I came from a Mormon back ground, explored various religions and philosophies during my ‘seeking’ years, as well as live and work in a melting pot of cultures, religions, and philosophies. All this to say, I seek to understand other people and their beliefs, as well as stay aware of how a simple interpretation of words in the Bible can be the basis for different religions and sects.

Okay… I admit I am getting long winded here, but the point is when you learn how various religions say who Jesus is and how that is different then Christianity, you become a life long student of the Nicene Creed. For example, Islam views Jesus as a prophet, etc.See  World Religion Chart for more information.

The Nicene Creed was written during a time (325 AD) when there was much dispute between the scholars and theologians about the Truth of Christianity. Who is God? Christ? Holy Spirit? What is salvation? and other BIG questions. Also, remember this was before the Bible or Scripture was available to everyone. The typical Christian went to church and memorized scripture, prayers, creeds, etc as a way to live their life and teach their family.

Okay…here is the point…The Nicene Creed is the basis of our Christian Faith and is a spiritual questionnaire of what each one of us truly believe. Here is the best online version I have found with scriptures supporting each statement Nicene Creed w/ Scripture .

So what does the Nicene Creed have to do with Faith in Nursing? Everything! stay tuned

NCFI Cares: Power Up!

As we stand firm in truth, righteousness, and peace we need a protective shield to guard our spirit from the flaming arrows of Satan. Thankfully we have a shield of faith. This is not the strength of our belief or faith as a defense weapon. Nor does it come from our ability to believe it works. Instead it is based on fidelity, “the character of the one who can be relied upon.” Thus, our shield of faith comes from the attributes or character of Christ. Jesus is all powerful, all knowing and demonstrates sovereignty over heaven and earth throughout all of time (Revelation 5:12-13; 22:13).

Outfitted with our nursing uniform for spiritual warfare, we might imagine ourselves as a children’s fictional superhero. Who, when confronted by an evil villain, transforms into a supercharged warrior. Our essential garment includes a helmet to protect our thoughts and we stand secured in the righteousness of our Redeemer. We expertly yield our sword while protecting our self with a shield of faith. We are fastened by truth found in Christ while attuned to where our peaceful sandals leads us (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Next time, we see flaming arrows of Satan locked onto our spirit. We can “power up” our nursing uniform fortified in the power of our Mighty Warrior.

 

Prayer: Our Lord is faithful to strengthen you and protect you from the evil one while directing your hearts toward his love and the endurance of Christ, amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:3-5)77ba6-ncficares_3bloglogo

NCFI Cares: Peter’s Wisdom

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During the Last Supper, Jesus warned Peter that he would be sifted by Satan and deny him three times (Luke 22:31-34). As the evening continues, Peter repeatedly denies Christ. His denial is not quietly, but vocally and wholeheartedly. After the third denial, we hear the rooster crow and our hearts break with Peter’s. For his personal sin becomes part of our redemption story.

After reading Peter’s experience, we are not surprised when he uses the metaphor “devour” to describe Satan’s tactic for Christians. For I am sure Peter felt sifted, distraught and close to being devoured. Thankfully, in the same passage Peter reaches out to all of us with wisdom:

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Peter encourages us to stay “sober and alert” meaning we can’t get complacent about Satan and assume he’s on vacation. We need to “resist him” by being strong in our faith. Not a faith filled with words and strength, but a faith dependent upon Christ (1 John 5:5). The true victor in the war with Satan is Jesus, thus our prayers are to him. For just as Peter depended upon the prayers of Jesus, “I have prayed for you, Simon (Peter) that your faith may not fail.” He tells us “I have prayed for you _____________(insert name) that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32).