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

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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

NCFI Cares: Hope in Thankfulness

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Like love and faith our hope grows and blossoms (1 Corinthians 13:13). One of the ways we can nurture hope in our lives is through thankfulness.  Identifying the simplest things in our lives and thanking our Father God for them fosters hope, even when we are buried beneath the trials of life. This is also true for our patients struggling with illnesses and diseases.  When we struggle to find something to be thankful for, we can pause and thank the Creator for our existence and the necessities of air and water for life. No matter what our situation or our patient’s circumstances there is always something to be thankful for.

An excellent passage for thankfulness is Psalm 136. Famous for its repetitive refrain “his steadfast love endures forever” or “his loving kindness endures forever,” the psalm states “Give thanks to the Lord for…he is good…God of gods…does great wonders, etc. The psalm continues with a history lesson of the Israelite s relationship with God. This is our Lord, who has and continues to write a historical narrative in our lives.  We discover the sustained hope when we remember how the Lord has worked in our past (Lam 3:21).

 

Take time this week and read Psalm 136 and “Give thanks to the Lord for __________________ filling in the blank with how the Lord has demonstrated his “steadfast love” in recently in your life.

p.s. Want to discover how to encourage hope for your patients?  Check out three articles from the Journal of Christian Nursing. Importance of Hope; When Hope is Lost Part 1 & Part 2.  

USA JCN subscriptions

International JCN online Order–click here! only $37 USD

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Journal of Christian Nursing

 

What does cinnamon candy & cheese slices have in common?

One thing about memories is you can’t control when they will pop into your mind. This is especially true for memories of our departed loved ones. A recent example illustrates this point. I love all kinds of cinnamon candy and the hotter the better.  I recently discovered that my husband loves them too, as he was eating two and three cinnamon breath mints at a time. WOW! That’s even too hot for me!

We were reminiscing about the different cinnamon candy and treats that were available when we were in high school—remember the cinnamon toothpicks! As we chatted about the hottest cinnamon candy and comparing the intensities of Jolly Ranchers to cinnamon bears, red hots and hot tamales, I remembered a funny event involving Debbie and I.

About 18 or so years ago my husband and I, with our two daughters drove back to Wyoming to visit my sister. We had pulled an all-nighter, peddle-to-the ground road trip driving straight through from California. We arrived at Debbie’s house at about 4 am and immediately crashed into bed.cinnamon jolly ranchers

When I woke up a few hours later, I went looking for my purse. I found it by the front door,where upon my exhausted arrival I had dropped it. Next to my purse was Debbie’s purse similar in style. Upon closer inspection both purses contained a bag of cinnamon Jolly Ranchers.  It was hilarious! Living so far apart and not being able to “spend time”together we were both amazed by our similar tastes in styles and snacks!

As I was learning about my husband’s love for cinnamon candy, this heart-warming memory surfaced. How sisters separated by years and miles, were seemingly genetically engineered to love cinnamon Jolly Ranchers. Even now, the memory brings a smile to my face.

The sliced cheese is an even older story that my mom loves to tell. When Debbie was about 2 years old, she loved those individually wrapped American cheese slices. Maybe love is not a strong enough word—she craved those little slices. One day, she walked over to the neighbors, politely knocked on their door and asked for a slice of cheese.  My mother had visited the neighbor in the past who had kindly given my sister a slice of cheese. Well, in a 2 year old’s mind, why not go back for more!

Both of these sweet memories of my sister came into my heart and mind this week; and I feel blessed. The main reason these are joyful memories is I am at a good place in my grief, so that missing her stirs happy moments. Thank you, Lord!