The snow is falling. As I write, the fresh, clean, white blankets the ground. Pure. Renewed. A fresh start.
Just like this New Year.
What does God have in store for you in 2014? New knowledge. New friends. New tests (we were doing well up until there!). Whatever it is, we know for certain that God intends to use this year to refine, purify and mature our faith. He said so Himself (Romans 5:1-5).
Take a moment's break and read through this month's CMDA Student Life newsletter. You may emerge with a new appreciation for the word jihad, and you'll be tuned into some great opportunities that await you as you follow the path God is laying out for you in 2014.
May God's blessing be with you in this New Year.
In His name,
J. Scott Ries, MD
Vice President, CMDA
National Director, Campus Ministries
Think About It: Monthly Food for Your Soul
Jihad and the Bible
J. Scott Ries, MD
We survived the bomb.
Thankfully, the Iranian Embassy target of the two suicide bombers was a couple kilometers south of our location in Beirut, Lebanon. Our ministry providing medical care to hundreds of Syrian refugees who fled their own war torn country could continue on.
But imagine my surprise as I saw the sign over the restaurant where my Lebanese doctor friend took me for dinner the very night after the destructive terrorist attack. "Abou Jihad" (Father of Jihad) was prominently displayed in lights, as if proudly warning any Westerners that might venture near.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" I asked the question of my friend, with no attempt to hide the anxiety the word jihad provoked. I found myself wondering if my life insurance would be nullified if an American walked into jihad...of his own free will!
My friend flashed a knowing smile, assuring me that eating here would be just fine...and perfectly safe. Jihad in Arabic is not only the well-known term in the West for "holy war"...it is also a name. So the restaurant was named after this guy Jihad's father. (Whew!)
Turns out the word "jihad" is also found in Scripture.
In the Arabic Bible translation, the word jihad is used to describe one who strains to accomplish the final goal. So when Paul writes, "...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus," the idea of pressing onward to achieve the goal to which God has called us is translated "jihad" (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV 2011).
The difference between our jihad (pressing forward) and that of Islam extremists is the goal for which we strive.
So what is the object of your jihad?
Is the "prize" of your journey in healthcare a successful career, a healthy family and finding the American Dream? Or is it laying aside the things that so easily distract you and focusing on the call to the kingdom life of a disciple of Jesus? Not next year or when you graduate...but right now.
As you enter this New Year, take some time to evaluate the object of your jihad. Then-whenever you hear "jihad" mentioned in the news or in conversation-let it be a reminder that your jihad is directed toward someone greater.
(And yes, the hummus, fatoush and kabobs at Abou Jihad are fabulous.)
Student & Resident Life Webinar Series
This month, join Dr. Ries as he welcomes Fouad Masri to discuss: "Leading Muslims to Christ: Starting the Conversation."
You won't want to miss this timely topic on our CMDA Student & Resident Life Webinar Series.
Be sure to register right away and join us live on Sunday, January 19!
Calling All Student Leaders
An exclusive live, interactive webinar session is being offered on Saturday, January 25 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. just for you. This is the third in the Campus Leadership Training Webinar Series, and we need you! Join your student leader colleagues from across the country to be equipped for leading your chapter through the final months of the year...and finishing strong! Be sure to register and mark your calendar to gather with your chapter's Leadership Team and engage with the Leadership Training!
Yes, we know it's only winter...but that's also the perfect time of year to start thinking about your summer plans. If you have a block of time (like between first and second year), why not invest part of that time learning what it looks like to be a Christian healthcare professional... particularly one focused on serving patients in Jesus' name?
Check out the updated Summer Opportunities offered by our awesome CMDA partner ministries.
International CMDA World Congress
On July 21-26, 2014, you have the remarkable opportunity to join a group of students and residents from CMDA-USA and travel to Rotterdam, Netherlands to grow, learn and worship with medical students and doctors from around the world. This is the 50th year celebration of the International CMDA, at the World Congress Conference, which occurs only every four years.
Some partial scholarships are available, so if you are interested in attending, please send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.