NCFI Cares: Our Great Intercessor

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31-32

In one evening, Peter experienced the full circle of faith, weariness, fear, and despair. He was in the Upper Room when Jesus washed his feet to indicate service and love (John 13:1-9). When Jesus tells the group that someone will betray him, Peter joined the other disciples in proclaiming, “Surely not I, Lord.” (Matthew 26:21-22). As Jesus prepared the disciples for what was about to transpire, Peter, once again boldly proclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” (Matthew 26:33). Jesus went further and warned Peter of Satan’s testing. The courageous, bold fisherman will be broken and his faith will be challenged.

The evening continued and Peter was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane trying to keep his eyes open. Once again, Jesus warned Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38).

Judas, accompanied by Roman guards and religious leaders, identified Jesus with a kiss and the betrayal was set. In fear and confusion, Peter reacted with earthly strength and cut off an ear. Jesus immediately healed the centurion and reminded Peter of the Father’s will (John 18:11-12).

Suddenly, the world has changed. Disciples fled fleeing while Jesus was arrested. In a matter of a few hours, Peter had experienced a whirlwind of events and emotions. He was dazed, confused and left to wonder at the validity of the Jesus’ claim as the Son of God. He was vulnerable and couldn’t imagine how his world could get worse, but it did.  Three denials later, Peter is in despair. In shock and anguish Peter came to the realization that he has spurned his best friend, master, and teacher. The worst part was Jesus knew it would happen!

And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75)

Jesus knew Peter needed to be tested. He needed to experience the betrayal and the subsequent bitter grief. Peter needed to leave fishing behind and come out on the other side as a strong leader. James 1:3-4 says, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

What we see today that Peter probably didn’t understand until later, is it could have been worse. Peter could have fallen away and left the new church without a leader. Thankfully, Jesus prayed specifically for Peter’s faith. Yes, Peter would deny Christ. Yes, the experience would leave Peter in despair and sorrow. Yet, Jesus was not done with Peter. He reaffirmed and restored Peter/s faith and their relationship. In Acts 2, Peter is boldly proclaiming the gospel to all in Jerusalem.

We have the same assurance that as Jesus interceded for Peter during one of his most difficult tests, Jesus will intercede for us. We will be tested. Not that God tests us (John 1:3). Instead, God uses difficult times to mature our faith, to increase our trust in Him, and to complete His perfect will (Romans 12:2). Our spiritually wise brother, Peter, poignantly teaches us:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-7)

And like Peter we will come out on the other side of the testing perfect, complete and with a steadfast faith.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Whatever you are going through you are not alone. Find assurance and strength in knowing Jesus is praying for you!

The Empathy of God

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. (John 11:33-35)

In John Chapter 11 we find Jesus traveling with the disciples, when he was notified that his friend Lazarus is extremely ill. Jesus, knowing God’s plan, purposefully delayed his plans to visit. He explicitly told the disciples his plan and even explained why he is waiting for Lazarus to die.

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

As he gets closer to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, Jesus explained his purpose to Martha. 

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” . . . Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

As the reader, I am familiar with the incident and know the miracle that is about to take place. Jesus has explained it to his disciples, to Martha and to me. The narrative is interrupted, and I read how Jesus was overcome with emotion and crying, “he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed…Jesus wept.

I ask myself, “Why is Jesus crying? Why is he so upset? He knows the outcome. Jesus knows in a few short minutes, Lazarus will come walking out of the tomb, risen and alive again! How can Jesus, the son of God, omnipotent, omniscient be upset about a death he is going to rectify?”  I am confused by the incident until the Holy Spirit reveals the answer–empathy!

The Merriam-Webster definition of empathy includes… “vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” In other words, having the same “feelings, thoughts, and experience” of someone without having the same experience. 

Here in three short verses of John 11, I saw a facet of the heart of God. Our Lord and Savior reveals one of the most powerful emotions of humans—grief, sadness, and pain. Not because Jesus doesn’t know the outcome. And, not because He can’t fix it. Instead, He is overcome with the grief and pain of his friends’ who were inconsolable at the loss of their brother and friend. Jesus’ loving response is to share the experience with them. He cries as they cry.

As someone who has experienced loss and grief, I find comfort in knowing this is my God. He sat with me in my tears and pain. He cried when I was inconsolable. Not because He doesn’t know the outcome. And not because He couldn’t fix it. Instead, He cries, when I cry.

Jesus becomes spiritually distressed by the pain and suffering we experience. He laments with me, with you and with our patients and families.  This new insight into the love of God brings new meaning to Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;

NCFI Cares: Teachings from the Apostle Peter

How useful are the letters of the Apostle Peter in the Bible? Both the first and the second book of Peter give us a guide on how to act as children of God in all areas of our spiritual, social and work life.

As we review the first book, we find the life that we have as believers in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1: 3 says:

 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be reborn for a living hope, for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, for an incorruptible, uncontaminated and untouchable inheritance, reserved in the heavens to you, who are guarded by the power of God through faith, to achieve the salvation that is prepared to be manifested in the last time.

Are you aware of what this verse really means? We have been bought at a price, the blood of the son of GOD, to receive an incorruptible precious inheritance. Thus, in our actions and in our daily walk we show a spiritual poverty by giving of ourselves to our fellow men; then we participate in something that has a tremendous dimension not only materially, but spiritually. The letter also says that these things that were given to us, even the angels long to look (1 Peter 1:12).

 We have a living hope that we must share with others: to our colleagues who have no hope; to those who drudge through their daily routine; to the sick who expect a living word through our speech or action; to students who need our support so much; and to the entire health care team.

From chapter 1 verse 13 onwards he tells us about living a life of holiness. With understanding, as obedient children and without conforming to being equal, or behaving as we did before in our ignorance.  He is holy. He is our supreme example.

Later in chapter 3: He spoke to us of being merciful, compassionate, friendly, and a blessing to others.  Knowing that we were called to inherit blessing. Imagine, how much our hospitals would change if each believer working in them practiced each of these words? The sick would heal faster.

In chapter 4: He speaks of being good stewards, “each one according to the gift he has received, minister to others, as good stewards of the multiform grace of God. ” It is repeated in the letter, “Be sober and watch in prayer.” It does not say sad or boring. Be wise and watchful in prayer, is different. The Spirit of God will lead us to be as God wants us to be. Thus we can praise him, as Peter did:

the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the glory and the empire for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11.

Lic. Martha Fernández Moyano

IB Member of NCFI, Argentina

NCFI Cares: God’s Name In Nursing: Yahweh Shamma–The LORD is There

Yahweh Shamma is from Ezekiel’s vision when the Israelites were exiled in Babylon. Ezekiel prophesied that the Israelites would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and temple. Then the Israelites would be reunited with the Lord and would name the city “Yahweh Shamma” the LORD is There. (Ezekiel 48:35).

For New Testament Christian believers, Yahweh Shamma communicates much more than just a city or church that the Lord will inhabit, instead through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, that began at Pentecost, believers have a continued promise of Yahweh Shamma. He is with us.

As I reflect upon this miraculous assurance and blessing we have from our Lord, I am reminded of our patients who need the assurance that Yahweh Shamma is with them as they face the unknown of cancer treatments, high-risk pregnancies, or a debilitating illness. Yahweh Shamma is also with our coworkers who are alone and afraid; those caring for chronically ill children and/or parents with dementia; and the single parents struggling to live a godly life in a worldly society. Yahweh Shamma is with each of our patients, families, and coworkers providing comfort and guidance for their life journey.

Similar to the Israelites, we are personally acquainted with those who feel exiled as they live outside the fellowship of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. We can be rest assured that Yahweh Shamma is there also. Waiting to be reconciled with his beloved children. They just need to open their hearts and spirits, and they will notice the Yahweh Shamma, the LORD is still there.

Christian Nursing 101: Responding to Questions about After-Life

Do you believe Heaven is for real? Do you look forward to Heaven? And, if not, why not? As a nurse or health care provider, do you feel confident in your understanding and knowledge of the scriptural basis for Heaven, to share with a Christian patient or family member?

I have provided 3 excellent Christian resources on Heaven to guide your nursing practice and to encourage patients, families, friends, and fellow believers. …check them out. …

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada

NCFI Cares: God’s Faithfulness

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“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29: 11)

God, our father and creator has plans for each one of our lives. In Jeremiah 29:11 our Lord declares that He knows the plans He has for us and those plans are only to prosper us and not to harm us. God plans to give us hope and a future.

This declaration assures us that when we are jolted in this world by trials and turmoil we need not become discouraged and lose hope. We trust and believe in a faithful and unchanging God. He is a God who keeps His word for ever. We in our human nature fail to keep our promises and many a time have failed to be faithful to our ever faithful God.

In 1 Cor. 1:9 God, who has called us into the fellowship of His son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. Yes, He has called us and He is faithful to fulfill His plans for us.  Having such a faithful calling which is so special and superior, let not any situation or anyone around us strive to take away the hope and the future promised to us by God in Jer. 29:11. Let us always be assured that God has His own plans for each one us to make us prosper and not to harm us.

What a faithful God have I

What a faithful God

What a faithful God have I

Faithful in every way.

Mrs. Rosaline Jayakaran

Secretary – ENFI, India

NCFI International Board Member

 

NCFI Cares: Resistant to Hope

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With burning hatred Saul traveled to Damascus seeking to imprison and destroy the radical disciples of the Way. During the journey Jesus miraculously intervenes and blinds Saul. Dazed and confused Saul spends three days in holy darkness amazed by his encounter with the Christ (Acts 9:1-9).

Biblical scholars are confident that Saul had met Jesus before. Even though scripture does not tell us, Saul knew about the labeled “trouble maker” Jesus. It is also quite possible Saul had seen Jesus perform miracles and heard his teachings. Nonetheless, Saul’s heart had remained resistant to the Messiah—Israel’s fulfilled hope. It took a drastic post-resurrection encounter with the All Powerful (Revelation 1:8) to expose Saul’s heart to the true identity of the Messiah.

We all have family, friends, and even colleagues who have closed their heart to the truth of Jesus. Like Saul they may know Jesus, but are blind to the grace and love found in our Savior (2 Corinthians 4:4). Let’s stay steadfast in prayer and love for those who need a powerful encounter to see beyond the man or the myth to experience the tangible hope found in Jesus.

Choose one person you can bring the love of Christ to.

Grace & Peace,

Carrie

When Hope Is Lost: Part 2

In the Part 1, we loaded our backpack of hope with a various nursing interventions. In Part 2, we focus on bringing hope to our patients through spiritual care for both Christians and non-Christians. As followers of Christ, we may hesitate to provide spiritual care interventions for those of other faiths. This is where our spiritual care experts can be consulted. Whether it is a hospital chaplain or coordinator, these wonderful men and women are partners in encouraging our patients. They also have the time to sit and chat with a patient, a challenge for the busy aJCN Covercute care nurse.

Also, included with the article is Supplemental Digital Content–listing specific resources for nurses looking for additional books, websites, etc.

I would enjoy discovering other interventions in your backpack of hope–feel free to share other ways you facilitate hope for your patient.

 

Click on the JCN cover to see all the articles in Christian Nursing 101 Collection!

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’s Not Dead!

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Hope’s not Dead!

As I was thinking of our living hope (1 Peter 1:3), I was reminded of a modern Christian song and movie entitled God’s Not Dead. I wanted to replace the word of the song with “Hope’s not dead, it is surely alive.” For, sometimes we live as if our hope is dead.  Is your hope breathing independently with a strong pulse? Some of us are in desperate need of hope CPR (cardiac pulmonary resuscitation). These lifesaving procedures have a healthy, skilled person breath and provide chest compression for a patient who is technically dead.  And at times, we need assistance with our breathing and pulse so we can keep our hope alive.

How do we know if our hope is dead—let’s check our breathing and our pulse.  Here are a few questions to think about: Are you a hopeful person? In other words, do you look forward to what Jesus will do in your life today? Are you excited about how the Holy Spirit is moving in your ministry, job, or community? OR Are you feeling dragged down by the concerns and stress of today? Does the thought of tomorrow bring more stress upon your life? These questions are based on the biblical meaning of the word hope—“anticipation or confident expectation.”

I encourage you this week to take time in prayer and check if your hope is breathing and has a pulse.  Next time we will look at hope saving procedures to jump-start our living hope!

Blessings,

Carrie

Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body also will live in hope. Acts 2:26

p.s. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria fighting the Ebola virus. May the Lord protect the health care providers and bring healing to the patients and families. (Ephesians 6:18)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghC3gqNQJPQ This is the YouTube video of God’s Not Dead! by Newsboys.