God is Love

March 17, 2015

Dad playingIn one of my first obstetrical/pediatric classes, I remember learning about infants who were raised in orphanages or nurseries with little contact or nurturing from caregivers. These babies were more likely to be lethargic or uninterested in their surroundings, and they often failed to thrive physically and emotionally.

This information was a nursing “game changer” for me. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to help parents learn to care appropriately for their children and show them love in every possible way.

Human love and nurturing are certainly essential for adequate growth and development, but they are not enough to ensure that a child will experience both a healthy, abundant spiritual life on earth and an eternal life in heaven.

The Apostle John had a lot to say about God’s love and its relationship to our spiritual health and eternal security. Not only does God love us, his creation, but he loves us sacrificially as described in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And Romans 5:8 reminds us that despite our undeserving state, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

In 1 John 4:8, John quite simply states that a prerequisite for us to be able to love ourselves, and others, is to first know God’s love. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” According to A.W. Tozer, this verse not only affirms that we must first know God’s love to be able to love, but we must believe that love is an essential attribute of God’s being; it does not simply define God.

Tozer writes, “It means that in God is the summation of all love, so that all love comes from God. And it means that God’s love, we might say, conditions all of His other attributes, so that God can do nothing except He does it in love… Nothing God ever does, or ever did, or ever will do, is done separate from the love of God.”1 God does nothing except in love, and he is the source of all love!

Trusting God’s Love

When we face challenges and hurts, we might doubt God’s love and care for us. But Tozer states that God’s love is about the principle of good will. He does not will any harm or hurt to his creations, and they have no cause to fear him. 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our faith in God’s everlasting love and the evidence of his love in his Word is enough to sustain us.

David, the shepherd and the king, experienced great challenges and hurts, but God’s great love and forgiveness renewed his faith. He described many of God’s attributes in Psalm 103, including his pervasive and everlasting love.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts
.

God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, reveals to us the story of God’s love and his free gift of forgiveness of sin through the life, death, and resurrection of his son Jesus. It was God’s love and forgiveness that transformed the life of Saul to become the Apostle Paul. And it was Paul who prayed that first-generation followers of Jesus would know the full measure of that love.

A Prayer for Love

Read Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians and ask God to show you his transforming love so that you can share it with your family, your co-workers, and your patients.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

Amen to love!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

This is the twentieth 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

Urbana 15: Every life tells a story

March 10, 2015

Find Your Life Urbana 15 VideoGrace was a nursing student who was deeply challenged by her experience at Urbana 12. “Life is so much more than school and my daily struggles,” Grace said. “I want to live for what matters eternally: to glorify God and to love others.”

Similar life-altering experiences await 16,000 students, missionaries and speakers who will gather for the Urbana 15 Student Missions Conference, December 27-31, 2015 in St. Louis, MO. Nursing students will join with others from around the world to hear from God, reflect, pray, worship, and consider their future role in God’s redemptive work.

Hundreds of healthcare students will attend special seminars to help them learn how to practice healthcare as ministry. Leading daily Scripture expositions will be Dr. Patrick Fung, Director of OMF International, who will add his perspective as a medical doctor to his biblical teaching.

Since 1946, God has used the Urbana conferences as a key transformational moment for thousands of people who have responded to God’s call by spreading the good news of Jesus in their neighborhoods and to the ends of the earth. View past Urbana events.

God’s love doesn’t hold back. “I came to Urbana 12 for direction on where God was leading me, but those questions were unanswered,” reported Danny, also a nursing student. “Instead, I was captivated by Jesus again and repented of my sin of indifference toward him. He convicted me of the need to cling to him as a child clings to a parent. I have increasing clarity that Christ is always leading me. He is the answer that I needed.”

As sponsors, InterVarsity and NCF staff are diligently preparing for Urbana 15. It’s not too early to make plans for Urbana 15. Already 857 people have registered. Encourage the nursing students you know to attend the conference next winter break.

Scholarships are available for NCF nursing students starting April 1. Contact NCF for an application. Please support students attending Urbana 15 with a special gift to NCF Scholarships.

Every life tells a story. If you’re a nursing student, what life will you live? Find out at Urbana 15.

NCFI Cares: But I

February 24, 2015

But IDavid’s plea to God in Psalm 13 was this, “How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” David felt abandoned by God and experienced immense sorrow to the “point of death” (vs 3).  He also feared that his enemies would be victorious. We are not sure whether David was worried about physical enemies or spiritual enemies. Either way, he felt vulnerable and strived to remain a faithful servant.

We see a similar experience with Jesus in Gethsemane when Jesus said to his disciples, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Then, in verse 39, “he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”

Both men felt alone and abandoned by God and knew their enemies were lurking and waiting for an opportune time to pounce (1 Peter 5:8). We know this is just the beginning of Jesus’ suffering, but we are not sure where Psalm 13 ties into David’s life.

And that is okay, for both men demonstrated for us a perfect response. David and Jesus show us not to depend on how “faithful” we may be feeling, or what will be the end result, or even what the enemy is doing.

Instead we are to respond as David did in Psalm 13:5, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” The word “But” is an emphatic response in writing and for our spiritual lives. We can interrupt our internal dialogue and change how we respond.

For example, how can Psalm 13 help us respond . . .

. . . to a spiritual drought? “I will trust in God’s faithfulness.”

. . . to human feelings of loneliness and abandonment? “I will rejoice in salvation.”

. . . to the enemy’s prodding? “I will sing praises to Jehovah!” (vs 5-6)

Interrupt your desert faith walk with a “But I . . .” and rejoice in God’s salvation.

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/.

NCF Stress-Busters of South Florida

February 24, 2015

Stress BustersA year ago, Monica Orozco-Cantillo, R.N., had a big vision for the new NCF group of nurses in South Florida. Their first event, hosted at Monica’s church, was a “First Responder” weekend in partnership with firefighters, nurses and other healthcare professionals. It was a huge success.

“We had over 50 nurses inquire about NCF and want to tap in!” Monica said. “We met all sorts of nurses: retired, disabled, new and burned out. We want to give them the resources and encouragement they need.”

Next they planned their first “Stress Buster” event with nurses from all over Dade County. The message focused on Christ-centered nursing care. They sponsored a raffle with prizes and an Arts ministry team enhanced the evening with a therapeutic exercise, beautiful poetry and art work.

In the fall, the group planned the “Harvest Stress Buster” to celebrate local nurses and medical personnel. “Our guest speaker, Eric Steman, spoke life into our hearts,” one participant said. “He reminded us of our strengths, value and courage within all of us.”

Another person said, “Our speaker was a rich source of positivity and love for our nurses.” Many people worked on making this a special event with food, prizes, donated flower arrangements and more.

When planning Stress Buster events, the NCF group often partners with the Blue Line Angels, a ministry for family members and spouses of police officers, because many of them are nurses.

The NCF group had a strong start to 2015 by hosting a Stress-Buster event, “How Sweet Forgiveness Is,” with a guest speaker and entertaining games as part of the program. In addition to door prizes and sweet surprises, the event included worship and childcare so that family, friends and coworkers could come as well.

Monica is very thankful for her team of co-chairs and their dedication and involvement in putting the events together: Michelle, Carmen, Sasha, Jacqueline, Margarita and Simone.

Many lives have been touched by God through the efforts of NCF in South Florida. Monica’s prayers for the group cover it all, “We pray for you to continue to be good stewards of your skill sets and be vessels for God’s glory!”

And so they are!

God is Faithful

February 20, 2015
Dawn

Photo courtesy of Adam Jeske

During my youthful summers at Sky Ranch Camp, I had great fun riding horses, canoeing, and swimming. At Sky Ranch, I was challenged to know God and to give my life to him. We studied God’s Word and sang hymns and choruses that were packed with Scriptural truths.

One of my favorite hymns, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, is based on Lamentations 3:22-23:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

During those fun-packed summers at Sky Ranch, I had no clue that God was building my faith in him and preparing me for life’s challenges that lay ahead. When life got tough, God used the words of that great hymn to assure me that he was always with me and would never cease to show me his love, power, grace, and mercy.

A.W. Tozer says faithfulness in God guarantees that “He will never be or act inconsistent with Himself… God will never cease to be what He is and who He is.” God does not change. He is perfect. He is loving. He is just. He is not influenced by anyone or anything, and his faithfulness ensures that he will always be true to his nature.

Faithlessness in our world is a great cause of personal pain, but God will never be faithless! He will never break his promises or defy his own character. According to Tozer, we can look at the promises in God’s Word to “see” his faithfulness.

For example, God’s promise to sustain the earth after the flood is first recorded in Genesis 8:21-22:

21The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. 22“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Tozer writes that not only will God sustain the world that he has created until his purposes are fulfilled, but he is specifically faithful to sinners, to those who are tempted, and to those who struggle. Because God is just, he will be faithful to “banish from his presence all who love sin and reject his Son.” Those are scary words, but God is also faithful to sinners who return to him, as declared in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If we confess our sins, God’s justice is for us!

Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” God will not allow us to be tempted to stray from our journey of living a Christ-like life beyond what we can handle. God allows us to be tempted, but he is faithful to help us through the challenges of life if we look to him.

And when we struggle to believe in his goodness, when we are fearful that he has abandoned us, God is still with us. We are assured in Scripture that God will complete his work in us and through us according to his plan, his time, and his power. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells us, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Have you ever doubted God’s love for you, his presence with you, or his ability to forgive you? Take a moment to read Tozer’s prayer and let God assure you of his faithfulness.

Father, help us to believe. Forgive us for doubting. Take away our unbelief, our diffidence, our slowness to believe. Help us now to put our trust in Thee and throw ourselves upon Thee with all the trust of a child in the hands of his father. May we now trust Thee. We pray now for the discouraged, for the sinner, for the Christian who has failed Thee, for those who are on the borderline of despair and who are living under circumstances that are very hard to bear. Thou, O God, are faithful and will not allow us to fail. Thou wilt keep us and hold us up and bless us. Now greatly lift us and help us, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

This is the nineteenth 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

A Valentine’s Day Love Story

February 13, 2015

Old FashionedGuest blogger, Cindy Carter shares about an opportunity to accompany her daughter, who hosts a Christian radio program, for an interview with Rik Swartzwelder, director of a new movie coming out on February 14, 2015.

I was blessed to go along on the interview, to hear the story of how this movie came to be. It was the most incredible interview ever.

As his interview unfolded, Rik Swartzwelder, described how he came to write this story and to eventually became the lead actor. Fifteen years ago, God gave him this idea. But every time he would try to push forward with this idea, God would tell him, “Not yet” – he said it was similar to how God had Abraham and Sarah wait for Isaac.

But his story goes back much further, for when Rik was very young, he wanted to date a particular girl, but she made it clear she wasn’t interested because he wasn’t a Christian. So she made a bold leap of faith: She gave him a Bible to read, and he read it and within a month, he gave his life and soul and all he was to Christ. He has never been the same.

Now, on Valentine’s Day, this story of pure love, Old Fashioned, sharing Scripture from I Corinthians is coming out. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Old Fashioned will be showing there is a better way to love. I praise God for His perfect timing and plan. I hope each of you will view the YouTube video clip about the movie, share it with your friends, and then go see Old Fashioned.

For me, as I listened to the director’s testimony, God began to impress upon my heart several lessons about standing up for Christ. The lesson became very personal when the director ended his interview by saying, “What if that young girl had not given me that Bible? Where would I be today? Would I have become a Christian? Would I have written this script? Would we, on Valentine’s Day weekend be giving the world a different view of love, unselfish love?”

So, I had to ask myself, “As a Christian, am I obeying God’s call on my life to go unto all the world (Matthew 28), sharing God’s love and Scripture (either physically or verbally) with others, giving them the opportunity to have their life changed forever? Then, am I available to be used of God to effect further change?”

As a faculty member seeking to mentor my nursing students in the Lord, I pray Scriptures shared within my courses transform lives, giving students a glimpse of God’s love for them and His desire to have a personal relationship with those He created. I pray that each of them will choose to walk closely with Jesus day-by-day, listening for His still small voice in Scripture. For I know that ultimately, I can share valuable nursing content and help students add to their skills set professionally, but only when I am teaching from the basis of God’s truth does this Bible promise apply, “My Word shall not return void” (Isaiah 55:11). Whatever our calling, I pray we will each become an example to others of hearing and following God’s path and the results will speak for themselves.

Cindy Carter, MSN, RN, RLC, IBCLC, ICCE is a regular contributor to Nurses Christian Fellowship, as well as a published author. As nurse adjunct faculty for Christian universities, she delights in the opportunity to mentor her students in the online environment. She is also the co-chair for the North Texas chapter of Nurses Christian Fellowship, an online private support group for nurses.

Lessons from the Infusion Room

February 3, 2015

IV Drip“I’ve been an Infusion Room regular for over seven years. It’s like a local coffee shop, only with needles, tubes, and dangling fluid bags,” writes David Kenagy in the Journal of Christian Nursing. “People who need medications pumped into their bloodstreams gather here, but not as hungry diners. Some have nerve disease, others arthritis, and some cancer. Folks in this room understand affliction.”

Enter Nurse Laura.

“Terrific” is the word used by other nurses and patients alike to describe Nurse Laura. What makes her so unique, so universally appreciated?

David Kenagy writes in raw detail how Nurse Laura not only provides compassionate nursing care, but uses her skills to initiate honest conversations with patients about physical and emotional difficulties.

“Nursing care means caring enough to talk toilet. It means Love your neighbor as yourself. It knows, Perfect love casts out fear,” writes Kenagy.

And for some, Nurse Laura is faithful until the end, when the nursing plan is simply being there. She is there for the patient. She is there for the families – sometimes grieving parents. It is the ministry of presence. It is communicating love, and caring, and importance at life’s most significant moments.

It is Essential Nursing 101. And few do it better than Nurse Laura.

Read more about what makes Nurse Laura so special in David Kenagy’s article, “Lessons from the Infusion Room,” from the Journal of Christian Nursing, Jan-Mar 2015.

_______________________________

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

God is my life

January 22, 2015

NC StudentsKayla is a nursing student in our NCF chapter at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In a recent discipleship meeting, I asked Kayla, “How do you bring together your relationship with the Lord and your life in nursing school?”

At first Kayla struggled to answer my question. “I don’t think of it that way. God is my life,” she said.

I knew that God had transformed Kayla’s life in big ways over the past year, and I was overjoyed to hear how she responded to my question. Her passion showed through her joyous tears as she explained her relationship with God as a junior in nursing school.

Kayla continued, “God isn’t compartmentalized anymore. My time is His. I used to view my schedule as mine and I believed that I was in control. Now I see my time as His and I organize my life to reflect eternal values. I trust Him to take care of me. Sometimes that even means taking a break from studying to care for my roommate who isn’t a Christian.”

It is because of God that Kayla can have this perspective. She told me later in the conversation that God’s work in her life had brought her heartache for a time, but it was the best thing that could ever happen to her!

I’m praising God that Kayla said “yes” to Jesus’ call. I believe Kayla will do great things for God’s kingdom, both at UNCG as a student and on into her career as a nurse.

-by Miriam Robinson, NCF staff

Just a Sprinkle

January 20, 2015

GrassI live in a part of the United States where there is a distinct difference between the dry and wet seasons. This is especially true since the past few years have been exceptionally dry and has left my neighboring hills and fields with the barren tundra of cracked dirt and parched grasses.

Thus, when those first drops of rain sprinkled across our thirsty landscape and brought just enough moisture to wet the pavement, the hard dirt gave way to small shoots of grass straining to find the sun. This small amount of moisture awoke the grasses in anticipation of nutrients and growth.

I couldn’t help but make the parallel to the human soul or spirit. Like the drought-ridden dirt blown away and grasses with withering roots, a soul and heart can be barren without the nutrients of Christ. Whether it is a blade of grass or a dry soul, a drop is all that is needed to awaken the soul to spring forth in anticipation of the nutrients of a renewed soul.

Many times in the evangelical world we think that a non-Christian heart needs a bucket or a river of water to bring growth. Not necessarily. All life sprouts anew in response to a sprinkle of water. Imagine the greater miracle when the moisture is the living water of Christ (John 4:14; Rev. 7:17; 22:1).

Don’t worry about bringing a bucket or a river of salvation. Just sprinkle God’s love to your drought-ridden communities and watch the fruit of the Spirit bloom!

As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.”

Blessings in 2015!

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/.

God is Sovereign

January 13, 2015

CruiseThis week Lisa Carlson, our NCF coworker, just returned from a cruise to celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary. Lisa oversees NCF Member Services and we missed her in the NCF office!

It seems cruises are very popular these days. I get brochures about all kinds of cruises, from gigantic ocean liners to sleek, elegant river boats. But no matter the size of the boat, there is always one captain, and he holds the ultimate control, power, and authority over the crew, passengers, and activities. The passengers are free to roam about the ship and enjoy themselves, but they are not free to change the course of the ship!

God and people are somewhat like a captain and passengers on a cruise ship, according to A.W. Tozer. A captain may have some power and authority on his ship, but God Almighty is absolutely sovereign. With ultimate power and authority, he controls everything and he does as he pleases.

As the prophet Nahum wrote, “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3b). God plans everything; he does not make mistakes or have accidents. And God’s people, like passengers on a ship, have some freedom to make choices about how they live.

Tozer writes that even though Christians have different viewpoints about God’s sovereignty and its relationship to our free will or freedom to choose, God’s Word tells us to know Jesus and to choose to live fully for him.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

The choice is ours. Do we follow God’s good plan for our lives or choose to go our own way?

I know what I choose. What about you?

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

This is the eighteenth 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


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