Do You Minimize Your Cancer? Devotional Excerpt

Do you ever think, “There are no problems, because God is in control”? That’s not quite accurate. The truth is, “Despite the problems, God is in control.”

Problems are still there. Take cancer. God is in control of your cancer and…
• There will be days that are miserable.
• There will be people who disappoint me.
• There will be changes to my body that limit me.
• There will be plans that change, people that change and finances that change.

Minimizing problems can lead you to…
• NOT acknowledging your problems.
• NOT admitting that you need help with the problems.
• NOT accepting help from those God has sent to help you.
• NOT facing problems with others.
• NOT allowing others to lift your problems up in prayer.
• NOT battling loneliness by being with those who care for you.
Here’s another thing about minimizing problems: If you don’t acknowledge the depth of your problems, then how can you give all your burdens to Christ in prayer?

Check out this verse:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16b
Let’s face it. The righteous person is not minimizing their problems; they’re grabbing
them with both hands and rushing to place them before the Lord. There’s no reason to
minimize the impact of cancer – especially not to God.

There have been times I have not taken problems to God in prayer. In hindsight, I can see that I was avoiding God. You see, when I place my problems before the Lord in prayer, I am submitting to handling my problems His way- not mine. My way often looks like pretending to be a strong person that does not need the help of others (even when I do.) God’s way often looks like me learning to accept help and guidance from the loving people that the Lord places around me (often necessary, but rarely easy.)

(Finding God in Your Cancer Journey Chapter 3 TRUTH excerpt)

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Faith Community Cancer Support Evaluation

Evaluate your Faith Community’s interactions with those coping with cancer.

What percentage of people in your community with cancer interact with your staff in these ways?

Typical response to Faith Community Cancer Support Evaluation  is higher percentage of congregants interact with staff around diagnosis, hospitalization and hospice.  Although these are highly valuable interactions, many important health ministry opportunities are missed.  Regardless of the size of your congregation or your pastoral staff, assistance from trained lay volunteers is typically needed to serve the cancer community.

 

 

 

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Waking Miracles Matthew West


Too often we forget all the miracles along the way!!

Love this song!  SING ALONG!

Let me tell you ’bout William, He’s been fighting battles since day one
The doctors said his life was over, yeah, before it had begun
They said he’d never walk, but now he walks
They said he’d never talk, but now he talks
I guess you could say (I guess you could say)
He’s a living, breathing, walking miracle

And there’s Veronica, with a sign in the second row
Said, “Even Cancer couldn’t stop me from coming to your show”
I guess I never thought, we’d meet again
But the very next year, we met again
I guess you could say (I guess you could say)
She’s a living, breathing, walking miracle

Oh, they’re all around us everywhere we go
The proof that we should never give up hope
‘Cause we serve a God who turns impossible
Into living, breathing, walking miracles

This is for the fighter (The fighter) who’s celebrating six months clean
For the marriage that was over, but somehow God redeemed
Anyone who’s been up, against the odds
Just to find out, there is a God
Who’s making us all
Living, breathing, walking miracles

Oh, they’re all around us everywhere we go
The proof that we should never give up hope
‘Cause we serve a God who turns impossible
Into living, breathing, walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles, miracles

Let me tell you ’bout you, yeah, you, do you know that you’re amazing?
A one in a million masterpiece that’s in the making
You might think, ‘not me’
But every single breath, that you breathe
Is saying you are
A living, breathing, walking miracle, yeah

Oh, they’re all around us everywhere we go (Everywhere we go)
The proof that we should never give up hope
‘Cause we serve a God who turns impossible (The impossible)
Into living, breathing, walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles
We are living, we are breathing, we are walking miracles
We are living, breathing, walking miracles

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Matthew West / Andrew Pruis
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Knowing Jesus Through Cancer

A cancer walk is the type of struggle that can reveal new things about Jesus you’d never seen before. On the day before cancer came into your life, you probably understood that
Jesus was your Savior, your Protector and your Comforter. Yet, sometimes your faith can jump from understanding who Jesus is to knowing who Jesus is.

A cancer walk can do that. Like
Lazarus, you have experienced Jesus carrying
you through the dark times and into the light.
Are you thinking, “Not me. I don’t see Jesus in
my cancer walk.” Well, here’s the cool thing
about Jesus. He is there even if you do not
know it. Not only that, He is there even if you
do not know Him! I love that. I cannot tell you
the times in my life when I have taken my eyes
off Jesus, only to look back and see that sure
enough, Jesus was there. I was just not looking.

Let’s try seeing with new eyes- Jesus’ eyes.
Thinking about Jesus. “Since the cancer
diagnosis, I know with more certainty that…”
▶ Circle all that apply:
• “He is with me when I am frightened.”
• “He brings peace in times of turmoil.”
• “He continues to love me when I am
weak.”
• “He guides my steps when I see no
path.”
• “He fills me with courage when I am
surrounded by fears.”
• “He protects me from the temptation of
despair.”
• “He softens my words to those who care
for me.”
• “He gives me strength when I am down.”
• “He showers me with wisdom in my
confusion.”
▶ How has your cancer journey changed
your understanding of who Jesus is?

▶ Was there a specific situation during
your cancer journey

 

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,”  1Peter 1:8

Excerpt from Finding Hope In Your Cancer Journey

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Cancer is Big; But Christ is Bigger

Cancer is Big; But Christ is Bigger “Focusing on Christ does not mean pretending that cancer is small and has no impact on your life.”

It’s important to consistently take
your thoughts off of cancer and place your
focus on Christ. Let’s take a minute to clarify
something: Focusing on Christ does not mean
pretending that cancer is small and has no
impact on your life. We need to be honest
with ourselves and face the truth that cancer
is big, really big, gigantically big- but Christ is
BIGGER!

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is that only when you are honest
about the impact of cancer, can you place your
problems at the feet of Jesus.
It’s like when I have hair problems. Anybody
ever have bad hair days? Me too!

God is Bigger Than Messy Hair
I have a natural wave in my hair, which can be
nice until the enemy of all hairstyles appears humidity.
One day after seeing my hair
disaster, my hair stylist recommended that I
leave my hair conditioner in. Don’t rinse. I
looked at her like she was crazy. I had spent
over five decades rinsing conditioner out of
my hair, and leaving it in sounded disgusting.
But one day I tried it, and guess what- she was
right. It works. I should have done it sooner,
but something was keeping me back. What took
me from, “No way!” to, “I’ll try it”?
Simple. I finally admitted how bad my hair
looked. Instead of doing something about the
problem, I had been minimizing the problem.
Admitting problems can be tricky. Do you
ever think, “There are no problems, because
God is in control”? That’s not quite accurate.
The truth is, “Despite the problems, God is in
control.”
Problems are still there. Take cancer. God is in
control of your cancer and…
• There will be days that are miserable.
• There will be people who disappoint me.
• There will be changes to my body that limit
me.
• There will be plans that change, people that
change and finances that change.
Minimizing problems can lead you to…
• NOT acknowledging your problems.
• NOT admitting that you need help with the
problems.
• NOT accepting help from those God has sent
to help you.
• NOT facing problems with others.
• NOT allowing others to lift your problems up
in prayer.
• NOT battling loneliness by being with those
who care for you.

 

Finding Hope In Your cancer Journey by Karen Tripp p.44.

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Battling Cancer Depression and Anxiety with Prayer, Scripture and Companionship

Hidden among the many layers of a cancer struggle are the burdens of depression and anxiety.  Although studies have been done to look at the impact of religion and spirituality on cancer (1), the time has come for programs to be designed to utilize Christian components of the faith to relieve the depression and anxiety during a cancer journey.  This study evaluated the ability of Cancer Companion’s group Bible study meetings to decrease depression and anxiety in cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

Background

While depression and anxiety may hinder cancer treatment and recovery, it has also been found to impact quality of life and survival. (2)  One study in British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed for cancer of the bowel, prostate, pancreas, and esophagus and for leukemia the death rates of the group reporting more depression and anxieties were consistently higher than the death rates of the group with less depression and anxiety. (3)

A large body of research has demonstrated the stress-buffering effects of religion and spirituality on physiological processes such as reduced cardiovascular reactivity, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activation, and inflammation. (4)   In regards to cancer, one meta-analysis article published by the National Institutes of Health suggest that greater religion and spirituality is associated with better cancer patient-reported physical health. (5)   These results underscore the importance of attending to patients’ religious and spiritual needs as part of comprehensive cancer care. (6)   The Cancer Companion program used in this study was created in response to this understanding.

The Cancer Companion program focuses on improving a participant’s emotional self- regulation through the Christian components of prayer, scripture and companionship.  A study which looked specifically at cancer patient’s emotional self-regulation discovered that religious fellowship can enhance positive emotion through social support, while religious and spiritual rituals and faith can provide hope, forgiveness, comfort, love, and other emotional benefits. (7)

Methods:

The program, titled Seeing God in Your Cancer Journey, consists of 9 Christian Bible study meetings lead by trained volunteer facilitators covering the topics of Faith, Questions, Healing, Prayer, Stress reduction, Relationships, Communication and Healthy Living.  Each group is equipped with Participant Guide books, Facilitator Guide books and Interactive Videos to be used at each meeting.  Volunteer facilitators have completed six 7-hour online training including the topics Impact of Cancer, Connecting with Participants and Use of Program Materials

The percentage of participants who identified as Christian prior to entering the program was 96.3%.  Participants include cancer patients, survivors and caregivers invited to participate in the program through church announcements, personal invitations, website and social media.  Each meeting was held at the trained facilitator’s church.

The program’s outcomes are:

  1. Increase participant’s understanding of who God is, the character of God.
  2. Increase comfort level for God’s role in my cancer journey.
  3. Improve participant’s communication with the important people in their life.
  4. Increase the variety of topics the participant prays about.
  5. Improve participant’s depression.
  6. Improve participant’s anxiety.

Participants were asked to complete evaluation forms at the end of the last meeting.  Since the groups were held in churches across the country, the facilitator mailed the evaluations to the home office in St Louis to be tabulated and reviewed.  Total participant evaluations received is 110.

Completed paper participant evaluations were entered into Constant Contact Survey Builder to gather results.

Results:

Through the Cancer Companion Program,
My understanding of who God is, the character of God, has… Increased a lot The same Not increased
57% 43% 0%
God’s role in my cancer journey feels… More comfortable The same Less comfortable
88% 11% 1%
My communication with the important people in my life has… Improved a lot The same Not improved
57% 43% 0%
The variety of topics I pray about…

 

Increased a lot The same Not increased
73% 27% 0%

 

 

During my Cancer Companion Sessions, Improved Greatly Improved Stayed the same Gotten worse
My anxiety has… 22% 69% 8% 1%
 
My depression has… 13% 66% 20% 1%
 

Conclusions:

Results suggest that this Christian Bible Study group programs can improve the emotional wellbeing of Christian cancer patients and caregivers by improving their experience of depression and anxiety.  These results underscore the importance of designing and utilizing faith-based programs as a component of a comprehensive cancer care plan when appropriate.

  1. https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/01/30/depression-anxiety-up-mortality-risk-for-some-cancers/115787.html
  2. https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-019-6181-4 Depression and anxiety among people living with and beyond cancer: a growing clinical and research priority
  3. https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/01/30/depression-anxiety-up-mortality-risk-for-some-cancers/115787.html
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4618080/
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
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Even When It Hurts by Hillsong United


Cancer has it’s bad days. This is a wonderful song for the bad days. Acknowledging the struggle yet filled with the wonder of praising in the hardest times.

Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise you
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise you
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise you
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise you
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

And my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the morning has come

Lord my heart burns only for you
You are all you are all I want
And my soul waits only for you
And I will sing till the miracle comes

I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise
I will only sing your praise

Even when the morning comes
I’ll praise you
Even when the fight is won
I’ll praise you
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I’ll sing your praise

I will only sing your praise

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Cancer and the Struggle

  •  Does it seem to you that cancer is the result of living in a fallen world? Or do you believe that cancer is the result of something you did or someone else did to you?

 

Cancer is not punishment. God did not give you cancer.

He gave you His Son so you may live a life of hope in the midst of suffering. Did you catch that? Hope in the midst of suffering.

Before we go on, it’s important that you know one thing: your struggles are not stronger than the love Christ has for you.  There is no place you have been and nowhere you will go that the love of Christ does not go with you.   Look at today’s verse:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Look at the list in the verse above about believers and answer these questions:

  • Is there anything in your past, anything that you have done or was done to you, that could separate you from the love of God?
  • Is there anything in your future, any pain, any procedure, any mistake that that could separate you from the love of God?
  • Is there any evil, any demon, or evil person or evil deed that that could separate you from the love of God?
  • Even in death, whether it’s from cancer or a car accident or dying in your sleep, could you be separated from the love of God?

Pray with me:

Sweet Jesus, come into my heart and let me know that this promise is true: that truly nothing in heaven or on Earth can separate me from Your love.  Your love is complete, it is unending and it is unstoppable.  I praise You for your love.  Let it fill my heart to overflowing.

Amen

 

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God is Bigger Than Playing in Creeks

Our family plays in creeks.  Other families have leisure pastimes like biking or camping or playing softball.   You may be thinking, “Oh, sure.  We did that once.”  Not like us.  This isn’t a casual activity. This is serious. My kids have grown up playing in creeks, I played in creeks and even my dad played in creeks.  We have a creek-playing season that begins on Mother’s Day and ends on that dreaded first day of school.  We even have creek shoes.  You can’t go out and buy creek shoes; they have to be the too small pair of tennis shoes from last summer with your toe poking out of the top to really qualify. We always know when we have a creek neophyte on our hands, because of their store-bought water shoes.  We sympathize with their sheltered ways.

So what do you do exactly when you play in creeks?  You can hike in creeks; skip rocks in creeks and even eat lunch on a log in the middle of the creek.  But the real creek-playing enthusiast knows the goal is to build a dam, thus creating a small pool in the middle of the creek.  After thorough investigation, you select a site with an adequate amount of large rocks in the vicinity.  Then everybody takes the biggest rocks they can carry and dump them in a row across the water.  The first rocks dump to the bottom of the creek and, for all apparent reasons, nothing happens.  The water continues to rush by as if you’d done nothing.    But you keep fetching rocks and piling them on top of each other until you start to see, in one small area, the water is beginning to slow down and create a pool. The excitement in the crew mounts, and more rocks find their way to their rightful place. Finally, the pool expands until the water can’t be stopped by the rocks anymore.  The water pushes the rocks down, first in one spot and then another.  That’s when I remember what my father taught me in a creek a long time ago: you can’t stop the water, you can only bend it.  The water has to go down stream.  It may go around the dam, or through the dam or even over the dam, but somehow it will get to where it’s going.

God’s will is like the water, and your prayers are like the rocks, asking the creek to bend one way and then another.  When you pray for wisdom or peace or healing, you’re placing a rock in God’s will by asking for the desires of your heart.  God hungers to fill our every desire as long as His will still flows towards His reconciliation with His children.

Putting God’s purpose above our desires takes our relationship with God to a place where trust, faith and submission are more than just words.  Do we really believe that God knows what is best for us?

Sweet friend, believe these three things:

  • God is more than able to heal your cancer.
  • God is more than able to protect you through any treatment.
  • God is more than able to carry you to your heavenly home in His omnipotent, loving arms.

Trust Him.  He hears the prayers you speak, the prayers you think and especially the prayers you only feel.  God will always take care of you, His beloved child.

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Thankful Cancer Survivor Week

Are you a Thankful Cancer Survivor?

Are you Thankful for a Cancer Survivor?

JOIN THE FUN!

Sunday, June 7th- Sunday, June 14th

In celebration of National Cancer Survivor Day

1. Post a Picture (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc)

2. Share your thankfulness.

3. Use #ThankfulCancerSurvivor

Here are a couple sample posts!

 

 

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