NCFI Cares: Hope’s Not Dead!

77ba6-ncficares_3bloglogo

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.

 

NCFI Cares: “Come Quickly, Lord”

NCFI_cares_logo 314x49 use for facebook

Our discussion of a heavenly hope and a place without sickness brings us closer to the end of this time—the return of Jesus Christ. This hope is based on the promises made by Jesus Christ to the disciples as recorded in the gospels—“Do not be troubled, I go to prepare a place for you and I will return to take you there to live with me” (John 14:1-3, Matthew 24:29–31). In Christian language we call this event, The Second Coming. Even though the timing of the event is unknown, we have a description of Jesus’ impending arrival:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Just like modern day Christians, the believers during Paul’s time were asking, “When will Jesus return?” And like us, the wait seems endless. Especially when violence spreads through our countries and new diseases and plagues continue to inflict suffering and pain upon us and our patients.  It is easy to become discouraged.  We may fluctuate between impatience with frustrating cries of “WHEN Lord!” versus murmuring in apathy. “Whatever, Lord.”

Paul, the writer to the believers in Thessalonica, knew they needed more than just a reminder, they needed to have hope. Thus, he encouraged them to support one another and to maintain vigilance.

Let’s takes Paul’s advice. As we anticipate and wait for Jesus to return, we can pray and inspire our fellow believers to stay steadfast, while at the same time hasten the Lord to “come” quickly (Revelation 22:17, 20)

We wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)

p.s. For those who lost loved ones in the Malaysian Flight MH17, please know our hearts are broken at your loss and our prayers fill the Lord’s chamber with tears and sadness.

NCFI Cares: No Nurses In Heaven!

NCFI_cares_logo 314x49 use for facebook

          As health care workers we have dedicated our gifts and talents to caring for the sick, the disabled and the mentally ill.  Our nursing service is a calling or ministry, with God equipping us to care for his children. I think I can speak for you and me both in saying, that we have joy and confidence in knowing we are doing the Lord’s work. Even with the blessing of serving the Lord, we yearn for a time without sickness, disease, and death. Our yearning is fulfilled in Heaven as discussed in Revelation 21:4 “Jesus will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

            In addition to seeing Jesus face to face and loved ones who have gone before me, I am excited to go to a place where there are no hospitals, no clinics, and no nurses! Hallelujah! We will suddenly be unemployed and our services will no longer be needed. This is the good news of the gospel for our patients, their family and for all health care workers. Someday, there will come a time when healthy bodies, minds and souls will live for eternity without the fear of disease, the heart break of disability, nor the slow deterioration of aging (1 Corinthians 15:52-55).

            We do not know what the Lord has planned for us; however we do know we can anticipate an eternity without the need for nurses! 

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)

When Hope Is Lost: Part 1

Hopelessness and despair can be common experiences for our patients with cancer, terminal illness, or tragic trauma. As nurses we are well positioned to assess patients for signs and symptoms of hopelessness and intervene to curtail the devastation of despair.  The article in the current issue of JCN begins a list of interventions supported by nursing and scripture that we can use with our patients. The interventions also includes “patient/nurse” commentaries offering support and guidance as we tackle this tough issue. I would love to hear your stories! Whether it is from nurses who inspiring hope with your patients OR from patients/people who have received support, word, and/or encouragement from nurses or healthcare providers.   JCN cover Be sure to check out the article in the Journal of Christian Nursing (July/September 2014)

And keep your eye out for the Part 2 in October!

NCFI Cares: Our Seal of Hope

NCFI Cares: logo

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

NCFI Cares: logo

       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 Confident Hope

            One of our first hopes as Christians is the hope of our
salvation through Jesus Christ. As sinners, we come to Christ with nothing to
offer, yet needing so much. Similar to a patient needing medical care, we
present our self to Christ bearing many wounds and illnesses. Some of us come
from previous life experiences that left us bruised and broken; some of us come
from other religions where the worship and practices of various philosophies
and beliefs have caused trauma and scarring. Or, some of us come carrying the
heavy weight of good works and righteous behaviors found in religiosity. None
of us come healthy. We are all in need of the sacrificial blood of forgiveness
and healing.

Then
through God’s perfect timing, we accept the free gift of salvation through the
redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:19-23); and experience the
completeness of forgiveness. We now possess a changed heart, a new life, and a
restored relationship with God the Father.

         Unlike other
gods, healers, and self-help ideals that offer shame, fear, and insecurity, our
gift of salvation pulls us off the treadmill of self and works to rest in the
confidence of our Savior. We stand firm that “It is finished!”

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
.” (Romans 15:13)

NCFI Cares: FaitHope

         

         I recently wrote an article for Journal of Christian Nursing entitled the Importance of Hope (April-June, 2014) reminding nurses of the hope we have as Christians. Through NCFI cares devotional, I will be discussing in-depth the facets of our Christian hope found in scripture.

            Whenever we think of the concept of hope in Christianity we start with Jesus, our redemptive Messiah–the source of all hope. While doing research on hope, I discovered Jesus did not necessarily teach on hope–for he is Hope. As one Bible scholar puts it—Jesus is certainty! Instead, Jesus taught and demonstrated why we should believe in him as the hope for all mankind (John 3:14-16); as well as how to live out Hope found in him.

            Which brings up an important point, scripture melds faith and hope together. Faith without hope is meaningless; whereas, hope without faith is fleeting like the weather. As Romans 8:24-25 teaches “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.”

            As we seek to bring hope to our patients, families, and colleagues, we need to first merge our faith and hope into one. Do we truly believe the promises found in God’s word? Or are they religious statements dry from overuse? Are we a hopeful person, community, family? In other words, if your family and friends were questioned, would they say you are hopeful and confident in trusting God the Father to provide, like the birds of the fields? Inspiring hope for our patients begins with us rooted in the firm foundation of the Alpha and the Omega and the promises found in scripture (Revelation 22:13).

Blessings, Carrie

Importance of Hope article in JCN

Importance of Hope

JCN cover        If someone were to ask you, “What is the one word to describe Christianity?” How would you respond? You might say Jesus, love, or trust, but would you use the word hope? I have to admit, I would not have previously explained  Christianity using the word of hope.
Hope is the basis of Christianity, for without the death and resurrection of Christ, our faith is meaningless and we are without hope (1 Corinthians 15:4).
The article “Importance of Hope” in the Journal Christian Nursing  can be a basis for a bible study for building a strong foundation of hope in Christ and in the promises of God:
  • look up each scripture cited in the article
  • spend time in prayer and meditation
  • seek the Lord to open your heart and mind to the truth contained in the passage
  • explore ways to live out hope personally and professionally
  • examine your life for areas of insecurity, worry, fear etc (evidences of a lack of hope)
  • conclude your time by thanking the Lord for his hope, rooted and found in Him
NCFI Cares will be encouraging international nurses to “overflow with hope” (Romans 15:13) with devotionals exploring the facets of hope. You can receive NCFI Cares via NCFI facebook page,  subscribing to the category NCFI Cares, or follow me on Twitter!
My prayer for you:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13), amen.

Unshakeable Job


Being a nurse can sometimes be disheartening. As a nursing instructor, I hear the disappointment from graduating seniors with no prospective job. I encounter nurses struggling with the constant change and complexity of acute care nursing. As well as, potential students who wait years to be accepted into nursing programs, pay exorbitant price for a private school and then graduate with huge student debt.

Personally, as an instructor for an associate degree program, I am disheartened by the lack of job opportunities for ADN grads and the difficulty these grads have with transitioning into BSN programs. As one of many state funded educational programs, I am frustrated with the lack of funding for education as a whole. With unemployment high, appropriately funding nursing and other “job training” programs should be a priority.

All of this to say, that currently there is much to be discouraged about in health care and education. Yet, through the words of the worship pastor, I was reminded of which kingdom I work for and whom I depend upon. Even though I am part of the health care industry and the educational system, I am God’s workforce and his kingdom is unshakable.

Hebrews 12:28, reminds us that God’s kingdom is unshakable. No matter how unsure the economy, hopeless the job market, tenuous our nursing career, or chaotic health care industry, our confidence is in God! Jesus Christ is our confidence and through him we are assured of a future.

Now I will admit, what we currently see as our future, is guaranteed to be inline with the future God has for us. But, I do know this, we can depend on Jesus to be with us today and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8)