NCFI Cares: Sword Training 101

Fencing

There is intrinsic skill and strength required for sword fighting or fencing. Each person must have knowledge on how to use a sword. Learning the technique of sword fighting also takes practice. A participant can’t just read a book. Instead, they spend time in a safe environment practicing their new skills. These same concepts can be applied in using the sword of the Spirit, i.e., word of God to combat the enemy (Ephesians 6:17). Just like the sport or art of swordsmanship, using the word of God as a weapon takes knowledge, skill, and training.

Our sword training begins with an in-depth knowledge of scripture. Our education includes historical context and theological meaning, as well as appropriate application of God’s word to our lives. We also need godly wisdom in how to use scripture with each skirmish we encounter. Like a warrior yielding a sword, we need to discern the consequences of each strike.  For example, at certain times a quiet resolve within our heart is the best way to combat evil. While, at other times the strike of our sword is issued verbally. Like the art of sword fighting, these are carefully planned out strikes to halt or disarm the enemy, with minimal collateral damage.

As with any weapon, it takes knowledge, skill and discernment to appropriately use the sword of Spirit. And neither sword should be yielded inappropriately or used haphazardly.

Blessings, Carrie

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)

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NCFI Cares: CPR for Hope–Breathing!

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Breathing is necessary for physical life. Nurses and other health care providers may insert a tube into the lungs to facilitate breathing, and/or attach a ventilator or breathing machine that will “breathe” for a patient. Another intervention for someone not breathing is to have a nurse place their mouth over a patient’s mouth to blow air into the patient. These are all extreme measures that help the patient breathe when they are unable to meet their own oxygen requirements.

Spiritual breathing is also important to sustain life. Jesus, meeting with disciples after the resurrection, breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22).  This holy intervention brought the eternal Holy Spirit into their spirit. From this point forward, the disciples are focused on continuing the ministry of the new covenant.

At times we need a renewal of the Holy Spirit to invigorate our calling in Jesus. Just as CPR has another person breath physically for a patient, we need to breathe spiritually for a fellow brother or sister. We can reach out to one another with prayer and various social connections. Whether it is through email, text or a phone call a simple inspiring message can bring a freshness into someone else’s life. So send the “breath of the Spirit” to someone who needs a boost of hope!

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5)

Grace & Peace,

Carrie

p.s. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters around the word who experience hardships and violence because of their faithfulness to Jesus (Ephesians 5:18)

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NCFI Cares: Our Seal of Hope

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An amazing miracle happens every time a person comes to salvation through Jesus Christ. They receive a mark or seal. In an instant, they not only receive righteousness through the forgiveness of sins, they also receive the seal of the Holy Spirit. As one bible expert explains, this is a seal of ownership (Eph. 1:13-14). Like a seal on a document in New Testament times the mark identifies and indicates its owner, who would “protect” the document. So too, in salvation, the Holy Spirit confirms Christians are identified with Christ and are God’s property, protected by Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

This infinite marking, unseen by human eyes, provides evidence of our true identity in Christ Jesus. We may have doubts about our relationship with God or may be fearful. No matter what feelings or experiences we have, we can stand in confidence that we are the Lord’s precious child. In Psalm 139, the writer contemplates all the places he might hide from the Holy Spirit. He concludes by saying, “you will be there…your right hand would grab hold of me” (vs 7-11). This touching assurance of our security is a recount of our intimate relationship with the Lord. For the Lord not only seals us as his possession, he secures us as blessed children.

Prayer: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” amen (Romans 15:13)

NCFI Cares: Our Radical Hope

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       The room is quiet as Jesus communicates his final instructions to the disciples. He senses the anxiety and insecurity of those he has called “friends” for the last three years. As Jesus works through the important points he knows the disciples’ world will be turned upside down with his torture, death and resurrection. In the years to come, they will face persecution and suffering as they live out his gospel message. Jesus is not only concerned about the disciples future he is providing important instructions for future generations of followers. Thus, Jesus assures them by saying, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will be with you always.”(John 14:18) How can Jesus ensure his continued presence? “For I am sending the Helper, who speaks for me.”(John 14:25)

            This radical hope is the Holy Spirit. He is our promised Helper, Counselor and Advocate. The disciples waited until Pentecost to receive their promised Advocate, yet we receive our Helper immediately with salvation. Our hope rests on knowing that we are never alone. We don’t need to run to gurus nor prophets to understand what the God of the Universe wants for us. Instead we go to scripture where the Holy Spirit brings to our heart and mind truth, teachings, and the way of righteousness (Ephesians 1:13, John 14:25-28). We should seek out pastors and mature believers to guide us in living out these truths while depending upon the discernment of the Holy Spirit to illuminate individuals as a community of believers and the body of Christ (I Corinthians 2: 10-15; 12:13,27). This is truly the miracle of Emmanuel, God with us. As we seek to reveal the teachings of Jesus in our personal and professional lives, we are secured in the radical hope of the Holy Spirit’s continued presence.

Prayer:  “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” amen (Romans 15:13)

NCFI Cares: Our Christmas Miracle

Luke 1:35 The angel spoke to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will
come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

It was the most joyous miracle! God came upon a young woman
and created a child. Not just a human being, but the incarnate of God himself.
This amazing miracle we celebrate every Christmas is the manifestation of the
same Holy Spirit that indwells within each of us. We may not become pregnant
and be so honored to parent the Holy One (thank goodness!), but the Holy Spirit
comes into our lives and performs miracles.

This Christmas season, my prayer for you is two-fold: First,
that the Lord would manifest himself in each of you in amazing ways. Each one
of us need something, a miracle, that only our Lord can supply. The second part
of my prayer is that we would recognize this miracle. Miracles happen every
day, as all health care providers can testify to. Yet, many times we miss the
seemingly little miracles: a changed heart, a kind word, a met need and a
triumph over sin. Open your heart and mind to the daily miracles in your life
this season while celebrating the most amazing miracle!

Merry Christmas from everyone at NCFI!

p.s. better late than never

Presence in Nursing

JCN coverAs Christian nurses we can experience the Presence of the Holy Spirit. This is more than just attentively listening and communicating with a patient as with “being present.” This is being used by God to connect with patients.  The Holy Spirit’s indwelling is a wonderful blessing and part of our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is also how we can connect with others as part of God’s work in their lives and our own.

One such special time was with a difficult patient. I was struggling to feel like my work as a med/surg nurse really mattered and that I was being used by God. One day a call light came on for a patient that I was not assigned to, but new very well. He was considered a “frequent flyer” because of his chronic disease and difficult behavior. I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to answer his call light, which I did. That moment began a long relationship of seeing this patient beyond my med/surg nurse eyes and heart. I knew the Holy Spirit was intervening for this man, because my eyes and heart were opened in a way that I could not of otherwise seen. Actually, one of my indicators now, that the Holy Spirit is working in my heart, is when I notice, see or feel things that are beyond me or outside my normal feelings.

I would enjoy hearing your stories of how you experience the Holy Spirit in your work.

Read the article: Presence in this month’s JCN. There I give a great example of the difference between “being present” and the Holy Spirit’s presence in nursing. There is also a snap-shot of the Bible’s teaching on the unique person of the Trinity, called the Holy Spirit.

Fruitful in Nursing: VINE

            In the article for Christian Nursing 101, I discuss the necessary components of a fruitful nursing practice using the acronym VINE: Vitality of Joy, Intimately connected with the Lord through unceasing prayer, Nutrients found in the bible and Christian nursing resources and Emulating the living Savior. Is there one of these four components that speaks to your heart more than the others?


            For me it is “Emulating the living Savior.” I have to share with you an experience to explain. One of the hospitals I work at has a wonderful spiritual care department, with many caring, gentle chaplains who work very hard to meet the spiritual needs of the patients, families, and staff. There is a specific gentleman who radiates peace, gentleness, and caring. He doesn’t even say anything. When he enters a patient’s room, I feel his calm demeanor. One day, I realized I wanted to radiate this same qualities.  As an energetic, med-surg nurse who feels like most of the time I seemingly run on a hamster wheel with tendencies to be klutzy and loud; the thought of being meek and gentle is a hope of mine—found through Christ Jesus. How about you, what components of the VINE do you pray for?