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).

NCFI Cares: BUT I…

How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (vs 2). This was David’s plea to God in Psalm 13. David felt abandoned by God and experienced immense sorrow to the “point of death” (vs 3).  He also feared that his enemies would be victorious. We are not sure whether David is worried about physical enemies or spiritual enemies. Either way, he felt vulnerable and strived to remain a faithful servant. We see a similar experience with Jesus in Gethsemane:

Jesus said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death…he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Matthew 26:37-40)

Both men felt alone and abandoned by God and knew their enemies were lurking and waiting for an opportune time to pounce (1 Peter 5:8). We know this is just the beginning of Jesus’ suffering, but we are not sure where Psalm 13 ties into David’s life. And that is okay. For, both men demonstrated for us a perfect response—not to depend on how “faithful” we are feeling, or what will be the end result, or even what the enemy is doing.

Instead we can respond with a BUT I (vs 6). The word BUT is an emphatic response in writing and for our spiritual life. We can interrupt our internal dialogue and change how we respond. For example:

  • To a spiritual drought—“will trust in God’s faithfulness.”
  • To human feelings of loneliness and abandonment…“I will rejoicBUT Ie in salvation.”
  • To the enemy’s prodding… “I will sing praises to Jehovah!” (vs 5-6)

Interrupt your desert faith walk with a BUT I…

NCFI Cares: A Personal Drought

Personal Drought

In the last devotion, we discussed sprinkling our drought ridden communities with the love of Christ. Even though we naturally think of non-Christians needing a sprinkle, Christians can experience times of drought as well. These are seasons in our faith-walk when we may lack the zeal or passion for ministry. We may feel or sense a depletion of the Holy Spirit’s strength in our life. Maybe we are plagued with doubts or fear; feel alone or abandoned by the Lord; or just apathetic about our ministry or relationship with Jesus.

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I have anguish in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day?”

These are the words of David from Psalm 13. We don’t know what was happening in David’s life when he poured out the barrenness of his soul. But, we are encouraged knowing that many mighty men and women of God experience personal droughts.

Does your faith feel dry and cracked? Is your relationship with the Lord empty and barren? If you are currently experiencing a personal drought, much like a dry season of the soul—then take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Many Christians have and are currently needing their own sprinkle.

Grace & Peace

p.s. In the next devotion we will look at how David responded to his spiritual drought.

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NCFI Cares: Hope that Shines

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As I write this, the world news includes devastating volcano in Japan, militant wars in Syria, student protests in Hong Kong, and if that isn’t enough an ever spreading Ebola virus. It is hard not to get worried or anxious about these and other troublesome current events. Yet, fear is exactly what steals our hope and sends us in a panic. Fear or worry comes from ourselves and the Enemy (Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7). Instead, the Lord gives us strength, courage and peace (1 John 4:8). “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

No matter what is happening in our community, nation, or across the globe, God is in charge. His hand is still on the calendar and he knows exactly what is occurring (Isa 14:27; Psalm 33:11; Prov 19:21). In fact, our work for the kingdom, nor his plan never changes. It may currently look different and take place in unsafe areas, but our purpose is the same—to be the hands and heart of Jesus to our patients and colleagues.

Let’s continue to outwardly express our confidant joy in hope maintaining a steadfastness in faith while continually persisting in prayer for one another (Romans 12:12). So that, our firm faith can be a hopeful light to others during these scary times.

Grace & Peace,

Carrie