NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Sabaoth–Eyes of Faith to See the LORD of Hosts.

Our look at Yahweh Sabaoth takes us to one of my favorite accounts in the Old Testament found in 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha and his servant are sleeping in Dothan. The servant arises early and sees the king’s army has encircled the city with their horses and chariots.

Can you imagine the servant’s fear and anxiety? I am sure he thought that he was going to die. He probably doubted himself, the Lord’s plans, and definitely Elisha’s wisdom. Panicked, the servant awakens Elisha and says, “What shall we do?”

Elisha reassures the servant: “Do not be afraid, for those with us are more than those who are with them.” Instead of scolding the man for his lack of faith, Elisha recognizes the servant’s need for faith in God, not in a prophet as the miracle worker. So, Elisha prays for the Lord to open the eyes of the servant, so he too can see through eyes of faith. Sure enough, the Lord opens the servant’s eyes and he personally witnesses the LORD’s army of chariots, horses and fire encircling them. The cross reference for the text says, “The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the LORD is among them:” (Psalm 68:17). Wow! That is too many to count. No wonder Elisha is so calm and dozing in the early morning hours seemingly without a care in the world. There are innumerable angels ready to protect Elisha from the king’s army.

The reason this passage is a favorite, is because it reminds me that we are unaware of what truly goes on in the spiritual world.  We don’t see the Holy Spirit working in our lives, nor as the LORD’s name Yahweh Shabaoth reminds us, we don’t see the LORD of Hosts commanding an army of angels to care for you, me, and all the saints today. “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).

The passage is also a great reminder, to not beat ourselves up when we lack eyes of faith to see into the holy spiritual dimension. Instead it is a time to relax and trust in the God who commands his Holy Army to protect and provide for us—especially when we are anxious and fearful (Hebrews 1:14). And finally we are reminded to model faithfulness like Elisha and provide prayers and encouragement to others who are filled with doubt and worry.  

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CARES: Reflections for Nurses–English Only

CARES English Cover Only

I think the best way to share the good news is tstart with an insightful story.

Recently, I was in Taiwan and gave the CARES: Reflections for Nurses to a Taiwanese nursing student. He received his gift with joy and thanks. The next day, he approached me and said, “I can’t read this book, it is in Spanish.” This is when I explained how the book is bilingual–English on one side with Spanish on the other side. With the simple explanation, he went away happy excited to enjoy his gift.  A few days later, he confirmed his enjoyment of the English reflections.

This incidence solidified a thought I had been contemplating, to publish an English only edition. So here it is with a bonus feature. Instead of just removing the Spanish translations, I went one step further to add a note page for each reflection. This provides space for meditations, insights, and/or prayers.

page view

The book is available through Amazon Book Store

Hopefully soon, it will be available on the NCFI webpage as a free pdf.

NCFI Cares: God’s Name in Nursing–Yahweh Nissi

We may not think of God as our Banner. A Bible scholar guides our understanding of Nissi by stating: “Typically, when armies went to battle, the flag would go out in front of them, representing the power and spirit of the nation. Similarly, when Israel fought, God went before them. He led the way, he was their banner. However, this is not just true for Israel. It is true for us. Our God always goes before us. He makes our paths straight, and he fights our battles.” Moses communicated this dependence on the LORD as he held up his hands in prayer during the war with the Amalek. Remember, when Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur held up his arms (Exodus 17:8-15).

Names of God_word cloud

The Lords name Yahweh Nissi is an important reminder for us and for our patients, families, and staff. The strength of the LORD goes before us. When someone receives a terminal diagnosis, the surgery was unsuccessful, or a colleagues loses their job, Yahweh Nissi is ALREADY there in strength and victory. Victory may not be the miraculous cure or an immediate solution. Instead it may be the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit and the assurance of eternal life. Also, notice the strength and victory for the Israelites came through steadfast personal and intercessory prayer.

Like Moses we can lift our hands up high in confident prayer proclaiming Yahweh Nissi “The LORD is my Banner” – (Exodus 17:15).

NCFI Cares: Problem + Solution = Faith Lesson

In Acts 6:1-5 we read how the Hellenistic Jewish were being left out of the the daily allotment of food for their widows. So, the Jews made a complaint to the disciples about the unfairness of distribution.

“So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, ‘It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ “ (verses 2-5).

The early church had experienced rapid growth after Pentecost. I imagine the disciples were pulled in every direction and working 24/7 to facilitate believer’s maturity while extending the gospel to others. A closer look at this passage reveals how the Lord used this opportunity to not only provide a solution, but to also guide and teach the early church valuable lessons relevant for us today:

  1. When there is conflict or complaining, instead of ignoring the problem or labeling the spokesperson as complainers listen and understand the concerns. It was only after the complaint that the disciples recognized their priority as leaders—not to “serve tables or distribute food”.
  2. Seek the Lord for the solution. The problem and/or the solution may be an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to emphasize an important Biblical truth in our personal and ministry life. Thankfully, the omniscience God of miracles provides a solution while guiding us in living-out His will more fully.
  3. Finally, no matter how busy our work in nursing becomes, ministry is sustained by the two-fold, intertwined process of the word of God and prayer.  This lesson is especially relevant in nursing. We can get pulled in multiple directions and forget to take the time to pray and study God’s word.

Seek the Lord for the faith lesson found in both the problem and the solution.

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Providence and Prayer in 1 1/4 pages

I will admit, I am sitting here stumped, yet quite tickled at God. I was researching prayer for an upcoming Christian Nursing 101 article and pulled out my handy-dandy Christian Theology textbook. Why I have a Christian Theology and a Systematic Theology textbooks is a topic for another discussion–LOL.

Anyway, I looked up in the index and find one entry on prayer entitled: Prayer and Providence found on pages 405-406. The one entry and number of pages are clues.  So I turn to the pages and find 1 1/4 page discussion. Tucked away, almost a side notification is prayer. I will admit, I turned to the table of contents and look for the word prayer. Finding nothing, I return to the index and decide, in my ineptness to look up intercessory. Nope, still nothing more on prayer. This is it. One small section, a 1 1/4 page discussion on prayer.

Providence PrayerPart Four: What God Does

Chapter 18: God’s Continuing Work: Providence

-Providence and Prayer

This small section is powerful and quite informative for me and my writing project:

“It [Prayer] is not a method of creating a positive mental attitude in ourselves so that we are able to do what we have asked to have done. Rather, prayer is in large part a matter of creating in ourselves a right attitude with respect to God’s will.” The short discussion continues with Jesus’ teaching found in the Lord’s Prayer, “Prayer is not so much getting God to do our will as it is demonstrating that we are as concerned as is God that his will be done.”

My insight for the day in regards to this discovery is God has provided a means for us to join Him in his plan for our world; and he welcomes us to communicate with him continuously. Even though, at times we make prayer complicated, keep in mind the basics of the Lord’s Prayer taught by Jesus. Through these simple, yet profound words, we can never go astray and loose that priceless connection with the God of the Universe.

 

 

“Everything starts from prayer” by Mother Teresa

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“Everything starts from prayer.

Without asking God for love,

we cannot possess love and still

less are we able to give it to others.

Just as people today are speaking

so much about the poor,

we too cannot talk so much

about prayer and yet not know how to pray.”

The Joy in Loving: A guide to daily living by Mother Teresa (1996) p. 43

NCFI Cares: S for Skill

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Using the PRAYERWORKS acrostic we have explored simple ways to enrich our practice and our profession through prayer, as well as a reminders to pray for and with our colleagues. For this devotion we use the final S to remind us to approach praying with our patients with Skill. Originally when I created the acrostic, I used the word Sensitivity, which is important. At the same time, the more I teach, share and discuss spiritual care, I believe Skill is a better term and encompasses sensitivity.

Myself and other nurses on the teaching team for The Art and Science of Spiritual Care through NCFI include the many steps of implementing prayer as part of our nursing care: a complete assessment that includes whether or not our patient’s use prayer as part of their spiritual life; a discussion/teaching on intercessory prayer; exploring the nurse’s comfort with praying various Christian prayers; and then practice praying with a peer using our simple model. As you can see these many steps require skill and sensitivity to explore prior to praying with a patient.

We can rest assured that Jesus, our High Priest intercedes for our patients and that the great Advocate assists our patients in praying (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:26). There are times when prayer is the best nursing action. When it is isn’t, we can reach out with kindness, caring, humility and grace to be the hands and heart of our Lord (Colossians 3:12).

Explore all the devotions in PRAYERWORKS