Devotionals on God’s Attributes

June 29, 2015

The Attributes of God I & IIDo you ever wonder what God is really like? I certainly do. Reading A.W. Tozer’s writings on the attributes of God has stretched my thinking and helped me begin to grasp the greatness and the majesty of God.

For the past 2 ½ years, I have written monthly blog posts covering each chapter of Tozer’s books on The Attributes of God. I have written about God’s familiar characteristics of love, grace, mercy, holiness and faithfulness. As Christian nurses, we desire to reflect these virtues to those in our care.

But I have also been challenged to explore some of God’s qualities that aren’t commonly discussed, such as God’s immanence, immutability, omniscience, or omnipotence. These attributes that are so different from any human qualities, are very important in developing a well-rounded view of God’s true nature and how he relates to us.

Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” A right concept of God is essential if we are to develop trust and faith in Him and have real purpose in living. Tozer was very concerned that most people don’t see God as he really is, so his preaching and writing was devoted to God’s attributes as revealed in the Bible.

I encourage you to read Tozer’s books to enhance your devotional life. Or, take a look at my reflections in these two collections now available from NCF:

Tozer chose the following sub-titles for his two books on God’s attributes: A Journey into the Father’s Heart and Deeper into the Father’s Heart.

This is my prayer for your journey of knowing the Father’s heart and being transformed into his likeness. It is a worthwhile pilgrimage.

~by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

This is the final post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 1 and The Attributes of God, Volume 2.

Nursing Students – Register Now!

June 26, 2015

Register Now!

Urbana is a space set apart to hear from God, reflect, pray, worship, and consider your future. Come to Urbana 15 and discern God’s will for your life. Meet us in St. Louis December 27-31, 2015. The best registration price for Urbana ends on June 30. Register now; prices increase on July 1!

Nursing students can attend special seminars on healthcare missions, talk with missionaries, and meet NCF staff. Find out more about scholarships for nursing students.

A student who attended Urbana 96 remembers how God called her into nursing:

“I just want to write and testify of the faithfulness of God and the way He used Urbana 96 to change me! Seeds planted there have grown and are now flowering beautifully!

I came to Urbana 96 vaguely thinking I wanted to do something in medical missions and ended up talking to a doctor who had practiced in Nepal for 30 years. He told me that if I really wanted to interact on a personal level with people, I should consider nursing. That made so much sense, especially since medical school would take so long, and I want to get out there!

Since then I have taken steps toward that goal, first becoming an EMT and then a nursing assistant, and now I am enrolled in nursing school.

Every day I am encouraged that this is where I am supposed to be, and I have learned so much about servanthood and the greatness of God as I study the human condition. I have seen so many people who could be healthy in body if they could know Jesus and be healed in their spirit!

God is teaching me to love people and minister to them right where I am, to prepare me for a bigger world. During my week at Urbana I began relationships that I now treasure. I made contacts with mission organizations that have given me much guidance. And the worship! I am still blessed by it, and it brings me closer to God.

So be encouraged because I am going to be there praising God with you, and I’m bringing as many people with me as I can!”

You only have one life. How will you live it? Come to Urbana and discover more of who you are and what you are meant to do. Register by June 30 for the best price.

Exposure to the Light

June 12, 2015

John 8:12I spent the summers of my childhood under the hot Texas sun. Now that I’m older, it’s obvious I got too much exposure to sunlight. Today, nurses and healthcare professionals instruct their patients on protecting their skin from the sun’s harmful rays and potential skin cancer.

But in NCF we’re doing all we can to see that nursing students and nurses get even more exposure to the radiant light of the Son, Jesus Christ. Then we equip them to take the light of Christ to their friends and patients.

When Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem, candles burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led Moses and the people of Israel through the wilderness. The fire’s light was God’s very presence, offering protection and guidance to the people.

Jesus was in the candlelit Temple when he spoke these words, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus is God’s presence, protection, and guidance for all who trust in him as Savior and Lord. His light reveals our sin, our desperate need for his gift of salvation, and it shows us the path forward. Rather than stumbling in the dark and remaining lost, we can see how to live with him in this world and for eternity.

Through NCF ministry this school year, 19 nursing students opened their hearts to Jesus and they are no longer walking in darkness. Praise God for new believers! Thousands of NCF staff, volunteers, students and nurses are reflecting Jesus, the true light of the world, in the dark places of nursing schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and patients’ homes.

Will you partner with us in prayer and financial support to provide for more staff and resources to make Jesus known in nursing?

Our fiscal year ends June 30th, and we need additional funding to cover staff budgets. Please partner with us in God’s great work among nurses and nursing students. Thank you!

by Jane Hall, MS, RN
NCF National Director

Nurses and Bioethics: More than Spectators

June 8, 2015

TennisA friend once gave me a tote bag that said, “Nursing isn’t a spectator sport.” Obviously, nursing isn’t like watching a tennis match or a football game. Nurses do so much more than watch over their patients. They often get deeply involved. Sometimes they have to say really hard things, perform painful procedures, and make difficult decisions about how best to care.

Regardless of the challenges of nursing, nurses are always expected to be committed to their patients and to their own highly ethical practice. But as healthcare becomes increasingly technologically advanced and complex, nurses are faced with giving care that can personally challenge their ethical and moral principles.

Nurses and students often need help to explore pressing contemporary bioethical issues and to see how a biblical, theological view compares with other influential perspectives. Where can nurses go to get help in understanding the questions and answers that surround challenging healthcare issues? How do they develop a biblical view of reproductive technologies, stem cell research, genetics, human enhancement, end-of-life issues, and more?

CBHDNurses and students must be equipped with knowledge and strategies to engage with these issues. NCF partners with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (CBHD) at their annual summer conference, held at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. At the conference, nurses, physicians, other healthcare professionals, ethicists, theologians, and scientists engage with pressing bioethical issues.

InterVarsity alumnus John Kilner, author of Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God, directs the graduate degree programs in bioethics at Trinity International University. TIU’s Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity offers valuable resources and other educational opportunities for nurses to invest more deeply in the study of bioethics. To connect to a host of free bioethics resources, check out the latest issue of TIU’s Bioethics Brief e-letter.

Our hope is that students and nurses will take advantage of resources and opportunities like these to be more than spectators as they encounter the challenging bioethical issues in today’s healthcare arena.

By Jane Hall, RN, MS
Director, Nurses Christian Fellowship

Vigilance In the Trenches

June 2, 2015
WW I trenches

Studying French“. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The comradery of our Christian brothers and sisters is an important aspect of standing firm against Satan. We are reminded of this truth in the teaching of both Jesus and Peter (Luke 22:31-34 and 1 Peter 5:8).

When we are feeling discouraged by the attacks of Satan, or our faith is being tested, we know our brothers and sisters around the world are also “in the trenches.”

Are you familiar with the expression or metaphor “in the trenches?” It is a reference from World War I when front-line soldiers lived and fought daily in deep ditches or trenches. They were dirty and bloody, malnourished, wounded and sick, yet their bravery and determination helped them overcome the enemy.

This same reference can be applied to Christians around the world fighting against Satan in God’s holy war. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

All of us are in the trenches resisting Satan and staying faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. The next time you feel like you are spiritually bruised and tattered, hold fast. You are not alone. For across the border, beyond the continent, and around the globe, millions of our brothers and sisters are fighting the same war.

We are in the trenches together standing firm in victory.

But how can we stand firm in the trenches of spiritual warfare? Spiritually, we must practice focused vigilance, similar to when we are observing a patient who is very sick. We watch their vitals for changes while monitoring their signs and symptoms. Attentively we use our nursing knowledge and assessment skills to watch for complications. We are taking notes and ready to respond if our patient becomes critical.

The same attentiveness is needed to guard ourselves against the lures of Satan. Like Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:1-11, we will be enticed by Satan to sin. We must trust the Lord to strengthen and guide us.

The Lord not only helps us during temptations, he seeks to develop our faith through the process by teaching us faith lessons and increasing our love for God. I have found this prayer helpful from 2 Thessal​onians 3:3, 5:

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”

Let’s stay actively vigilant and ready to respond to Satan’s temptations.

We are not alone!

NCFI CARES

Carrie Dameron, MSN, RNBC, who is a regular contributor for Nurses Christian Fellowship International and Journal of Christian Nursing. She provides resources for Christian nursing on her blog http://blog.carriedameron.com/.

Journal of Christian Nursing Wins 3 Awards

May 29, 2015

2015 ASHPE AwardJenny Choi doesn’t draw attention to herself, but her stellar work as the graphic designer for Journal of Christian Nursing has received well-earned praise.

Recently JCN received three awards in the Graphics category from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE). This is an important competition in publishing, and an honor for JCN and the publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. LWW publishes over 275 medical journals.

JCN art designs come from author topics and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and a lot is due to our talented graphic designer at LWW, Jenny Choi,” said Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, JCN editor. “She is a gifted artist and a delight to work with.”

awardsJCN received awards in these categories:

  • Silver Award for Best Opening Page / Spread Photo:

“Infant Mortality in Central Asia: Sad Statistics Come to Life” (April-June 2014)

  • Bronze Award for Best Opening Page / Spread:

“Computer-Generated Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Well-Being” (July-September 2014)

  • Bronze Award for Best Cover Illustration:

“Anxiety: Etiology, Treatment, and Christian Perspectives” (April-June 2014)

“I want to help nurses see JCN as a broad-based, professional nursing journal that offers excellent content,” Kathy said. “These awards bring promotion and recognition to a Christian publication. When our work is honored, God is honored!”

Congratulations, Journal of Christian Nursing!

__________________________________________

Become a member of NCF and regularly receive Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

Good Grief: Living with Dying

May 26, 2015

Providing & Accepting Spiritual Care

April 2015

Nurses face issues of life and death which affect them personally and professionally. How do we develop spiritual resources for living with dying – for people in our care, and for ourselves?

In April, more than 90 people attended a breakfast seminar co-sponsored by the “Called to Care” Nurses group and Hosanna Church in Lakeville, MN and NCF for nurses and healthcare colleagues in the Twin Cities.

The speakers communicated love for Christ and for people by connecting powerful stories with practical principles to care for people.

Sue Steen is a nursing professor at Bethel University who also works with families suffering from the loss of a baby. She described current views on grieving and end-of-life care that includes spiritual assessment and intervention.

Sue quoted Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement, who stated, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.”

This view of life and death is vital as we care for others, as well as deal with our own mortality. Nurses are familiar with traditional grief theories about stages of grief, but more recent concepts include an integrative model of curing and healing within dying. Bereavement, palliative care, healing and hope are strands intertwined together for living while dying.

Providing Spiritual Care

Providing spiritual care is vital as people grieve.  This helps to bring God’s compassion and hope into their pain and brokenness. Spirituality is a dimension within every person, and people have spiritual needs to find meaning, relatedness, love, forgiveness and hope. These needs are expressed in unique ways during times of loss.

From Gallup and Pew research, we can assume that religious practices may be important to a large number of Americans. Spiritual care is included in the nursing scope of practice. But factors keeping us from providing spiritual care include fear, feelings of incompetence, low priority, or concern about the topic being too intimate (but think of all the “private” things nurses ask patients).

The seminar gave practical help to describe spiritual care and ways to assess spiritual needs. Discussion of a life and death video clip helped participants apply what they were learning during the seminar.

The seminar addressed concerns of nurses who care for grieving people:

  • Communication (I don’t know what to say to patients…)
  • Education (I don’t know how to care for the family…)
  • Support (How can I talk with colleagues about what I am feeling…)

Resources for ongoing learning were also noted:

  • An NCF Spiritual Care Card (with preparation for spiritual care, basic assessment questions and interventions) was given to all participants.

A new nurse at the seminar said she would keep the Spiritual Care card with her as a reminder of what to say. Another nurse ordered the guide to give to nurses in her church in a gift packet during Nurses Week.

Accepting Spiritual Care

Caring for the nurse or health professional was integrated in the seminar, a time to receive spiritual care as well as to provide it. Delores (Dee) Huanca, a Faith Community Nurse and mental health educator, spoke on coping strategies to deal with grief throughout life, both personally and professionally:

  • Meditate on this scripture verse, focusing on each phrase: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Accept dying as part of living and living as part of dying. “Getting our things in order” is an indication of accepting death: advanced directives, wills, or dealing with broken relationships.
  • Ask for and accept help. Be realistic about your time and energy. Get support. Take time for play, humor and laughter.
  • Know that God is in control and trust him. Spend time with God and let go of things that interfere with your work and living. Do not expect perfection; that belongs only to God.

Pat Moe, Care Ministries Pastor at Hosanna Church, encouraged us to consider our own self-care. She gave examples of how healthcare people positively affected families and prayed for our ministry through health care.

Guiding Truths from the Bible

Biblical truths about living, dying and grief were communicated throughout the seminar, beginning with Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted…

God cares for people and we can be part of the ministry described in Isaiah and throughout the Bible. God’s goodness brings comfort and hope into our suffering and grief.

We can live with that!

by Mary Thompson, RN, MSN, FCN
Former Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship

What is God Really Like?

May 18, 2015

1 Chronicles 28:9A.W. Tozer’s deep desire to know God intimately led him to study God’s attributes. And because he wholeheartedly believed that the strength of God’s people (the Christian church) depended on their concept of God, he was compelled to share what he found to be true about God through his teachings and writings.

What nurses believe about the fundamental concepts in nursing (including nursing, humans, health and environment) greatly influences how they function and respond as nurses. In the same way, what people believe about God (or do not believe) greatly influences how they live and how they respond to their opportunities and challenges.

In The Attributes of God Volume 2, Tozer expressed his personal concern that the faith of believers had become anemic and thin. This concern motivated him even more to help people deepen their faith in Almighty God and experience his love, power, and grace.

For over a year I have shared some of A.W. Tozer’s insights on twenty attributes of God, from his infinitude to his love, but we have barely scratched the surface of what can be known about God! So let’s reflect. How many attributes or qualities of God can you list? Name your top five favorites and why you like them the most.

And how is your faith? Is it vibrant and rich, soggy and runny, or anemic and thin?

In 1 Chronicles 28, King David told all the government officials and military leaders of Israel that he had it in his heart to build a house for God, but God told him otherwise. He heard directly from God that his son Solomon was to build the temple, not David, because he had been a warrior and had shed blood. David heard God speak this message to him. Before King David gave Solomon his plans for the temple, he instructed him in how he should live.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work” (1 Chronicles 28:9-10).

David also said to Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished” (1 Chronicles 28:20a).

Unlike King David, I’ve never heard God speak aloud to me, but I’ve heard him speak through his Word and through the spoken and written words of others. Reading these verses in 1 Chronicles is instructive to me, just like they were to Solomon.

Reading Tozer’s writings has also stretched my thinking and helped me begin to grasp the greatness and the majesty of God. I long for you to understand more of God as well. How can you know more about God? What can you do to give your faith a boost and keep it strong?

Consider this. Choose a brief daily devotional by a well-respected Christian teacher that includes at least one Bible verse and a specific application to your everyday life. Make it simple. Download an app to your phone. Subscribe to an email service. Read a printed message before you become consumed with your responsibilities and the people in your care.

Try reading Psalm 145 in the morning and Psalm 23 before going to bed. Always ask God to reveal himself to you through his Word and the words of Spirit-led teachers, and be surprised by what he will do!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

All quotes from: A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2

This is the twenty-first post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2

The Ethics of Informed Consent

May 8, 2015

Informed ConsentTo celebrate Nurses Week and this year’s theme of Ethics in Nursing, NursingCenter.com invited Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, to write a blog post on the ethics of informed consent. Here is an abridged version.

As nurses, we are typically assigned the task of obtaining and witnessing written consent for healthcare treatment, so it’s important to understand what is involved in informed consent and what nurses can do to improve the process as a collaborative activity.

I’ll never forget admitting a young mother to our busy psychiatric unit after a drug overdose. She was terrified to sign the consent form for admission and treatment, afraid for herself and her child who was put in protective custody.

I repeatedly explained what I knew about her child, treatment plan, consent process, and her options. I knew it was in her best interest to sign but understood it was her decision to be admitted voluntarily or involuntarily. I felt ethically compelled to preserve that choice.

After almost an hour, I stepped out of the room to give her time to settle down and process. Then I updated my supervisor. She hastily went to the patient, stuck the form and a pen in front of her, and said, “You need to sign this NOW!”

My patient complied, tears streaming down her face.

I’ve since thought a lot about informed consent and preserving patient autonomy. In all settings, nurses are on the front lines of assuring patients truly are giving informed consent.

A patient’s informed consent should also be assured when giving spiritual care, though not written. How do we assess for spiritual needs and appropriately respond? What ethical guidelines must be followed when offering spiritual care? A comprehensive article discussing informed, ethical, and non-coercive spiritual care that could be applied to other holistic nursing interventions is, “Spiritual Care: Evangelism at the Bedside?,” by nurse researcher and spiritual care expert, Elizabeth Johnston Taylor. Take a look at this free article and discover principles for ethical nursing interventions.

This Nurses Week, remember that informed consent is a way of nursing each of us needs to live out as we offer our patients ethical practice and quality nursing care!

Read Kathy’s complete blog post and more of the Ethics in Nursing blog series covering advance directives, moral distress, horizontal violence, pain management, elder abuse, and end-of-life issues.

Congratulations Class of 2015

April 21, 2015

GraduateWe’re celebrating nursing students who are graduating and following Jesus into the nursing profession. Well done!

“This can be a difficult time as new graduates take their licensure exams and start new positions,” said Bonnie Hann, NCF Campus Liaison. “We want to help with this transition so they can have a positive influence as Christian nurses.”

This is why NCF is providing a free gift for 2015 Graduating Seniors. Sign up for a free copy of the Journal of Christian Nursing and other materials to help nurture spiritual and professional development as a new graduate. We are praying for your transition from campus to the world of healthcare!


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