NCFI Cares: Love–The gift that keeps on giving.

ncfi-values

As I looked into the  NCFI value “Love”  I was overwhelmed with where to start. Until I found an excellent definition from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) written by William Evans entitled Source of Man’s Love

Whatever love there is in man, whether it be toward God or toward his fellowman, has its source in God–“Love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1Jo 4:7); “We love, because he first loved us” (1 Jo 4:19). Trench, in speaking of agape, says it is a word born within the bosom of revealed religion. Heathen writers do not use it at all, their nearest approach to it being philanthropia or philadelphia–the love between those of the same blood. Love in the heart of man is the offspring of the love of God. Only the regenerated heart can truly love as God loves; to this higher form of love the unregenerate can lay no claim (1 Jo 4:7, 19, 21; 2:7-11; 3:10; 4:11 f). The regenerate man is able to see his fellow-man as God sees him, value him as God values him, not so much because of what he is by reason of his sin and unloveliness, but because of what, through Christ, he may become; he sees man’s intrinsic worth and possibility in Christ (2 Co 5:14-17). This love is also created in the heart of man by the Holy Ghost (Ro 5:5), and is a fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22). It is also stimulated by the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, more than anyone else, manifested to the world the spirit and nature of true love (Joh 13:34; 15:12; Ga 2:20; Eph 5:25-27; 1 Jo 4:9 f).

In other words, God gives us love. Not for us to keep, like a selfish child. Instead it is given to us to share and give to others. The mystery of God’s love is the more we give love, the more we receive love. Truly, love is the gift that keeps on giving.

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A Different Response to Gay Marriage

As I continue to watch the media regarding Christian businesses boycotting selling cakes and flowers to gay couples getting married, I wanted to provide a different perspective. Besides, when the Lord continues to tap on my heart and spirit, I know I need to say something.

To properly discuss this, I need to share some personal stories. For this issue is more than just about an institution, or sin it is about people.

As a nursing instructor I take nursing students into hospitals and teach them how to care for patients. Many years ago I met a wonderful nurse manager who was supportive and caring to my students. She was warm, friendly and that wonderful person you want to collaborate with for the best learning opportunity. She was also a lesbian. The year is 2008, and as a California resident, I was grappling with the issue of gay marriage head on. As a Christian who participates in our nation’s democratic process, I was not only praying for the election I was truly seeking God for his wisdom of how to respond to both Christians and non-Christians. The incident brought back a time when I first came into academics and met a professor who shared with me the “gay-bashing” him and his partner had faced. It was so horrible. They had uprooted their lives and moved to the Bay Area. All of this was stirring in my spirit and I was at a loss of how to respond, how to vote, and even at times how to pray. What could I do? What would Jesus do? How can I be a nurse and teach students about non-judgmental nursing care in the hospital, yet be hateful and rude in the community. I was dazed and confused and continued to pray, seeking the Lord’s wisdom. Since that time two things have spoken into my life and faith, that I use today as a barometer for these ethical and moral dilemmas:

–What if I am the only Jesus they see? In other words, what if Jesus Christ reflected through me is the only opportunity gays, lesbians, or anyone else have the chance to see him? What will they see? Judgment? Hate?

–The second was humility before God and his Word. When I stand before God and give an account of my life, I would rather say, “Lord, where I erred in following your ways, I erred in love.” When I am confronted with the challenges of living during this time, I have chosen love. From this simple, yet complex mysterious word comes kindness, gentleness, and other loving attributes of the Holy Spirit. Many times I fall short of being a caring, loving person and depend on the Holy Spirit to teach me how to walk and reflect his holiness.

Which leads me to my next perspective–I think the Christian Church, body of Christ is missing the boat. We are to be holy, not the world. I am not a theologian, nor do I have an M. Div (Pastor degree), but I have extensively studied the scripture. The Epistles, the New Testament letters, were written to the the Church. Here we see the apostles/disciples exhorting, encouraging, and guiding Christians in living out our faith. We are called to be holy, blameless, and loving; not the world. If there is a bandwagon to jump on, it is cleaning up the church. I will use my husband’s wise statement, “How can we expect the ungodly (those who don’t know God) to behave godly?” Even those who know God, don’t do a good job.

Final notes:

1. Don’t leave me a hateful message–I will delete it, for obviously you have missed the point.

2. As brothers and sisters in Christ embodied by the Holy Spirit, let’s commit to pray about the issue. I am not writing, because I am right. I am humbling seeking the Lord through prayer and scripture.

 

Verses: 1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:11; James 3:13-18; Galatians 3:26-27

 

Our Calling, Loving God in Nursing Part I.

    In the article, we explored loving God with all heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind  (Luke 10:27). All our heart is found when we make God that center of not only our personal lives, but our professional lives, as well. All our soul, can be found when all our decisons are in an obedient response to God’s leading in nursing. Loving God with our mind, is really back-to-basics of submitting all our thought patterns to the Lord, as well as bathing our education and practice in truth. Finally, loving God with all of our strength, is when we give all our talents, gifts, etc to be used for the body of nursing in Christ. 
    There is much overlap, yet it is important for us to explore places we may fall short on in expressing the love of God in nursing. Which one is more challenging for you as a Christian nurse? 
    For me personally, my challenge is being obedient to God in where he is taking me. I am type A, planner, etc type and I always want to come up with the plan and then ask God to bless it. I have been working on letting God come up with the plan and me following. 
    Share with me, your struggle so that we can all grow in faith and love.

Journal of Christian Nursing–online