NCFI Cares: Our Faith: A Construction Project?

Are there times when you feel like your faith is a construction project? A time or season in your life when it seems like God is busy tearing down old walls, removing dilapidated furnishings, refurbishing an old room, or maybe even building a new room (Philippians 1:6).

Building of our faith can occur during times of adversity and suffering when we feel like the Lord has a wrecking ball to our hearts, or a jack hammer pounding on our souls, or a hammer to our faith. The death of a loved one, pain and illness from a disease, a loss of job or financial challenges, a strained relationship and other personal experiences are all opportunities for the Lord to renovate our faith. Like a construction project on a building the use of the correct building materials with endurance and patience can rebuild our faith into a sturdy, long-lasting building.

Building up of our faith can also occur when we experience a dry or a desert time in our faith.  Maybe you lack faith or patience in your personal walk with the Lord; or maybe you have picked up some worldly bad habits—less time in prayer, no longer attending church, and other non-faith building projects.

Or maybe you sense the Lord is not tearing something down, but instead is building something new, like a new role in nursing, a change in job, or in ministry. Even the good changes in our lives feels uncomfortable and causes anxiety and pain. Even though we pray for the process, many times we resist the Holy Spirit when he starts laying out the construction plans (Philippians 1:6)

Whether the Lord is tearing down to make something new, removing bad habits, or is preparing us for a future role we need to partner with the Lord on faith reconstruction project.  Instead of being resistant to change and holding on to our current circumstances submit to God. The Lord is always looking for ways to conform us to be more like Christ and to equip us for His work.

Give him the hammer and the nails and let him go to work; so that you will always be equipped and able to do the work God has called for you to do (Ephesians 4:12-13).  

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

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Book Review: Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground

 “Perhaps no scriptural theme so well models the spiritual posture of nursing practice ass the Old Testament depiction of Moses and the burning bush. In the biblical narrative God reminded Moses that, when he stood before the Lord, the ground beneath his feet was holy. For it is her, in the act of serving a brother and sister in need, that the nurse truly encounters God.” (p. 1) Mary Elizabeth O’Brien in Spirituality in Nursing:Standing on Holy Ground opening statement sets the stage for the examination of nursing practice in relation to the nurses spirituality in caring for patients, participation in providing holistic care, and the nurse’s role as a healer. O’Brien shares the results of formal and informal observations to provide guidelines for meeting the spiritual needs for the mentally and chronically ill, despair and dying, children and families and others in the diverse practice settings of nursing care.
Quite a few years back, while I reviewing books and articles written by experts, I discovered O’Brien’s Spiritual Assessment Scale (SAS). In my experience there are two-broad categories of spiritual assessment tools: brief and used with patients/clients (FICA, SPIRIT, HOPE, etc); and multidimensional assessments or scales that examine the complex dimensions of spirituality. O’Brien’s SAS captures the multidimensional aspects of spiritual health through the Christian paradigm of a relationship with God: Personal Faith, Religious Practice, and Spiritual Contentment. Since SAS can be used for research and statistical analysis, the scoring is a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Here is an example of an assessment question for each category:
Personal Faith: “I receive strength and comfort from my spiritual beliefs.”
Religious Practice: “My relationship with God is strengthened by personal prayer.”
Spiritual Contentment: “I feel that I have lost God’s love.”
I also want to mention that O’Brien has given permission for NCFI to use the SAS in The Art and Science of Spiritual Care. The scale is used as a self-assessment for examining the participants own spiritual health. Knowing one’s self and caring for one’s spiritual health is an important part of nursing practice and essential to providing spiritual care. 
Spiritual Care is not an “add on” or “alternative/complementary” to nursing practice. This is especially true for Christians. O’Brien invites nurses welcome nurses to stand on holy ground and encounter God through our acts of service in nursing.

NCFI Cares: Spiritual Nutrition

When I reflect on the building blocks of nutrition for physical health, I am reminded of the importance of the building blocks for spiritual health. For example, protein found in fish, chicken and beans build muscle for physical strength, I thought of Jesus. Just like malnutrition is seen when patients lack healthy protein sources, without the living Messiah we can lack basic nutrients of life (2 Timothy 2:1).

Starches found in bread and rice give us daily energy, whereas scripture is our spiritual bread. We need to nourish our faith daily through the reading and studying of God’s word (Matthew 4:4).

Vegetables supply the nutrients for each cell in our body, yet many of our diets lack an adequate intake. Thus, I couldn’t help but think of prayer in comparison to vegetables. All though prayer is a vital for our faith, we seem to fall short on the amount of time we spend in prayer. (Luke 5:16)

The building block of our faith is also found in praise and worship. I think of this as fruit. When we lift our voices in song exalting the goodness and excellence of our gracious Heavenly Father we experience the sweetness of his presence. It is rich in nutrients. Yet, leaves us hungry for more and more! (Hebrews 13:15)Spiritual Plate (2)

Eat from the bounty of the Lord’s Table feasting on all the sustenance he provides both physically and spiritually (Psalm 23:5; Matthew 22:1).

“ ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Deut 8:3/Matt 4:4)