Three Time Cancer Survivor- Lisa’s Story

You gotta believe this……………

I’m a 3 time cancer survivor.  The big C word is scary,life changing, and emotional. Not only for you but also for your family and friends.  They love you so it’s hard for them to see you going through trials physically and emotionally.  Now, 2019, we have amazing healthcare and years of research that is still currently and will be going until cancer is cured.  So if you do get a diagnosis, just remember, they cure many cancers now as well as put a lot in remission.  So, all in all, you gotta BELIEVE ! Even in tragedies in life that may not be of health… Just Believe

If your not one of faith in Jesus, this may be a good read for you. If not, at least I got you to read this far.  Just Believe and your already on your way there.  I’m a believer in Jesus Christ and that he paid for my sins on the cross – rose from the dead on the third day and sits at the right hand of God our father – Now, I and you have eternal life in him by Grace. Repent, Repeat. My faith has gotten me through times no one else could. Without my Faith and personal relationship with HIM, I don’t know what I would have done.  It would have been so much harder and that’s not good.  Anytime in your life, it’s not too late to reach out to Him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus.  Nothing is impossible to him nor anything is too big that he cannot fix or forgive.  It’s you.  You call on him and repent, get rid of pride that you may have been wrong and say, I’m sorry for my sins.  Then leave all into his hands.  Leave all worries and thoughts at the foot of the cross while thanking him immensely for all the good you’ve had in your life and what’s to come.

Early 2003, I was helping in a pre kindergarten class at my daughters school who was then in 2nd grade.  I kept catching colds and just thought it’s because kids were coming to school sick.  By the end of that year I had developed a cough and felt three lumps in my collar bone.  The cough would not go away.  It would just come on and I would cough hard.  One day I coughed up foamy white substance. It just wasn’t right.  I then developed a red round mark on my lower thigh and thought it was a big bite.  But it was flat. Another tinge hit my stomach that something was not right.  When school let out I thought this will be great having a summer with my daughter. She was 8 at the time.  But then right after school ended, I developed a low grade fever that would not go away.  Then I was getting breathless  I called dr and then I went in to have a chest X-ray. I realized that walking into the building the breathlessness was getting worse. I just thought it was pneumonia.

I had an x-ray, they told me to wait in the waiting room.  As I came out after getting dressed there were 3-4 people looking at my X-ray.  Asking if I had pain.  They then told me they called my dr and to go up with my x-rays and had me go straight to my dr.  He looked at then said it was my lymph nodes 5 cm all over in neck and chest.  Some were pressing into my thorax which was causing the cough and my lung to retain fluid.  He admitted me then.  My mind and stomach left my body.  My Faith remained.

I was diagnosed after 6 days in hospital with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2B. after cat scans, X-rays, lumpectomy, blood tests.  It was then I met my oncologist who I believe God literally picked him for me thru my internal med dr.  He explained treatment options and let me go home. I had family friends praying.   There was a calm reassurance that I felt everything would be ok. I was praying and opening my heart to God And asking him to please save me for my 8 yr old daughter Rebecca and my husband Ken and of course my sweet parents.  Jim and Joan Damke

I knew my mom had a prayer chain going with her church and she was a fervent praying mother. Family and friends prayed and helped us. My first revelation at that time with my dear Lord was when I was waiting outside of a ctscan before I went home.  I prayed and wished I was at church with Ken and Rebecca. I cried. Odd thing was this hall way was empty and no one was there.  I waited and prayed before the scan. As I prayed, I heard the Lord spoke thru my mind and said it will be OK!

I had 12 rounds of ABVD chemo and 20 radiation treatments. By May 2004, I was cancer free!! Praise God!! There were many moments during this time thAt I felt the Holy Spirit and was given messages and glimpses from him!  My mom would pray and she would say, you are going to be fine. I believe it. I took that strength she and my dad had and husband and wrapped it up and stored it away into my mind body and soul.

THEN, A vivid dream where I was forced to the hospital and they gave me a shot. It was then a big round light appeared above me from the ceiling.  At first I was so upset and scared but in the dream, nurses in the old time uniforms surrounded me.  They claimed they gave me a shot and all of the sudden that round light became so bright, a brightness I have never seen and warm.  The shining sun on a clear, blue sky day, isn’t even as bright as this light was. A feeling of love and euphoria never even known before shone above me. That is when one nurse remained and as she made her way down to the foot of the bed, she turned to me and was glowing.  She had a smile that was so loving and with that she said ‘you will be cured’!

I finished radiation of 30 treatments in February 2004.  I was done!!!! They didn’t have you ring the bell back then but I was super excited.  My hair was coming back slowly. Then I had to wait for a pet scan.  Had it in May of 2004 and ALL CLEAR!!! Thank you Jesus!!! In 2011, I was considered to be cured!  And released from anymore checkups etc.  Did well! Living my life to the fullest!!!

Fast forward to Oct 2017, I was bothered by a funny bump on my tongue. Had the dentist check it and he figured it was tooth trauma since I had a lot of dental work that year.  Luckily, I had to go back to him within two weeks for a permanent cap.  He looked and said, you need to be seen. Went through the oral surgeon , biopsy, then to a head neck surgeon at cancer center. It was squamous cell carcinoma on my tongue. I had scans and then had it removed from my tongue.  At this point the surgeon wanted to be on the safe side with my history, so he had me do checkup scans.

One year later, oct 2018. They found a mass on my left breast. Very small but did biopsy, and it was invasive ductal carcinoma. Stage 0.  Had lumpectomy, mammosite device implanted. Did five days of seed radiation treatment two times a day. Then they removed device.  I rang bell. Done!!! Or so I thought.

I was feeling great had wonderful holiday season. Right before Christmas I had checkup with my radiation oncologist.  She said all looked good but had I setup an appt with an oncologist yet. My heart sank. But I made the appt immediately and went in with celebrating Christ’s birth with my family.  My daughter moved back home from living in LA so not much bothered me at that point. Everything was wonderful. Again.

Until I went to my appt Jan 2019.

Went to an appt for an oncologist to follow up with me for five or so years and at first he said we probably did all we needed, but I will discuss at a disciplinary meeting and present your records.  Let’s make another appt in a week and we will go from there. So I went back and he told me. 4 drs and myself agree you need adjuvant chemo.  It will cut your 25 % chance of it coming back anywhere.  Did Four rounds of chemo.  In four months.  Once again Rang the bell!!!! Praise God. What a relief!

One thing I’d like to emphasize is when someone goes to treatment, you are all there doing the same. Getting treatment to fight for your life! The other thing is that each person‘s treatment there is individual and no one’s treatment is the same. do you want to talk with others of course and it’s good to talk to softens the harshness of thinking of putting these medicines on your body that are said to be poisonous  in reality you need to remember sometimes you just don’t compare lots and of course that’s even in the Bible you know you should never compare to another woman’s lot because each person‘s story is their own  There is a mystery all of  our lives but each one leads into a wonderful story. However, speak with others only of good things to focus on. One good thing I liked to focus on was, God is so much stronger than this medicine they are giving me. He is the one who had sewn these concoctions into the minds of gifted humans, called doctors..

I learned another very valuable lesson during treatment. At least with chemo my husband could go in with me but when I had to do radiation you have to be in a room by yourself and they close of the foot thick in between you and everyone. I literally fell apart and started shaking when I did my first radiation treatment my husband couldn’t be in there with me no one could but guess who could Jesus I finally got over the fact that my husband going to be in there with me I was scared but then I finally let go and I prayed to Jesus I think I even set it out loud Jesus please hold my hand and Calm me Protect me from any damage that this treatment May do and just directed to the cells that need to be taken care of for you know you are the one who created radiation for the treatment for the cure you are in control Amen. I then had another revelation: at that time – I knew I could not carry all of this on my own. I then thought, either way, I’m going to be ok. It’s scary but then that’s when you realize there’s only one person that you can rely on for every single thing in your life and that is Jesus there’s not one person on this earth that knows your story, even you don’t know all of the details associated with your story and you shouldn’t  rely on everyone else to take care of all those details of your life you also shouldn’t rely on people for your happiness and who you are and what you need to do. That is a big thing that I learned. TRUST IN JESUS!!!  Jesus wants you to rely on him, he doesn’t want you to put someone on a pedestal to look up to you not that it’s wrong asking for help or helping others –  looking up to people However, we shouldn’t look up to people in a way where we completely put our full trust in them only. You see he wants us to put our full trust in him he wants us to talk to him as we do to a friend, to her husband, cousin ,sister, brother, mother, father –  oh wait I said it,  Father  – he’s a good good father!

There were times that I literally would look at the doctors face or a nurse and expect them to tell me you’re going to be perfectly fine and I would also expect that from my family but the reality is I put my full trust in him in Jesus name. I learned to put full faith and trust in God for every thing for he is the one that can take care of everything in my life everything about my mind body and soul.   Also that I shouldn’t depend on everyone to take care of me in that way to lean on them for a better understanding of what would be going on in my life of anything.

This recent battle when I went to the oncologist office for the first time, I was nervously looking around and overly anxious. I kept praying under my breath clenching my hands together.  I looked up at the ceiling and it hit me WOW….+they had a huge round light which looked a lot like the round white that I experienced in my dream 16 yrs prior.  I felt That indescribable love peace and warmth Of God’s love and healing and where the nurse told me as she glowed like an angel, I will be cured! Even though this light wasn’t quite as brilliant of a light in my dream, I knew it was symbolic of that message from the Lord.

After surviving and going thru all, you feel as if you should get a pass on work, doing your housework, doing your daily errands etc but you don’t. That’s when you stop yourself from thinking, that you are entitled to no more grief and remind yourself you are living and change any dim perspective such as that.  But you do get an amazing perspective that no other has who hasn’t experienced survivorship.  It is almost like a gift but not in the way that you receive. You think I have a second chance. In my case a third chance.  What does God want me to do? What is his will?  You want to give it all.  All praise and effort to God. For he brings you through.  You feel as if you should glide through life as if your a celebrity. You envision people standing on the sides clapping and cheering as you walk the red carpet. Mine would be pink. Lol.  You feel like people should know what to expect.   If you become sad, they wonder why.  You wonder too. I’m alive!!! Thank you Jesus.  But I fall back into that sin of fear. Not relying on HIM who gives me strength and has brought me thus far. But that just means I am human. It still somewhat troubles me that I fail because of the message I received in my dream.  The light!!!!!  But that is the message here even though years ago he used this in my dream, he wanted me to remember as I did this journey once more, he had me notice that light in the drs office and Always look to the light and never forget, he is always with you.

Joshua 1:9 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go*Do not be afraid or discouraged, for he is with you wherever you go…

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

Philippians 4:6, NIV: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”. Philippians 4:6, ESV: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”.

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Cancer and Coronavirus

Cancer and Coronavirus Tips

Wondering what you can be doing for the loved ones in your life who are dealing with cancer while all of this coronavirus craziness is going on? Karen has some ideas of how you can make them feel connected while keeping your distance!

Looking for more prayers to help you through your self quarantine? Every day Karen shares a new prayer to help us all through these uncertain times.

Cancer and Coronavirus Prayers

Oncologists:

Supply Chain:

Patients in Treatment:

Our Fears:

Our Leaders:

Lung Cancer Survivors:

Scan Anxiety:

 

The Future:

 

Finances:

 

Pancreatic Cancer:

 

Depression:

 

Oncology Social Workers:

 

Head and Neck Cancers:

To tune into these prayers live visit our Facebook page.


For more free resources visit the Cancer Companions blog page to find everything from devotionals to uplifting songs to comforting quotes and more.

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Shoulders by For King and Country

I look up to the mountains
Does my strength come from the mountains?
No, my strength comes from God
Who made heaven, and earth, and the mountains
When confusion’s my companion
And despair holds me for ransom
I will feel no fear
I know that You are near
When I’m caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I’ll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near
My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy…
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Take Cancer Thoughts Captive: Excerpt from Seeing God in Your Cancer Journey

Taking a negative cancer thought captive goes like this.

You begin to become aware of thoughts that increase your stress, lower your mood and pull you away from the people and things that bring joy into your life. For this example, let’s say that it’s a thought about your next scan being bad news. The scan is weeks away, but you find yourself thinking about all the possible negative outcomes that could occur. Sometimes you think of this when you wake up at night, or when you feel an unexpected pain or maybe as you go through the routine of your day. The negative thoughts can grow and rob you of the joy of today by anticipating the possible distress of tomorrow. The thing about waiting for the next scan is that there’s nothing to be done other than caring for your body. So what can you do to reduce the frequency and power of the negative thoughts and increase the joy in your day today? Take your thoughts captive. It’s a three step process.
Step #1: Identify the negative thoughts and the places they’re most likely to occur. There’s an exercise below to help with this.
Step #2: Shorten the time it takes to become aware of the thoughts. Negative thoughts can embed themselves into your life so that you barely notice how a destructive train of thought has begun until it has grown much too powerful. By acknowledging the thought sooner, you decrease the time for a small thought to grow into a major worry or fear. Shortening your awareness begins with looking back. “I’ve been worried about the scan all day. What’s the matter with me? I’ve got to stop this.” But with awareness, you begin to shorten the time until you are aware of the thoughts. “I’ve been worried about that scan all morning. I have to stop.” Then it can be shortened to minutes or even moments. “What’? I’ve begun worrying about the scan and I need to stop before the thoughts get stronger.”
Step #3: Replace your negative thoughts with positive, productive thoughts. If I tell you to stop thinking about an apple, you will think of an apple. It’s just what our mind does. So we need to fill the negative with positive. The BEST way to do this is with the promises of God. This will be fully discussed on Day 5. For now, let’s start with steps one and two.

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Let’s Make it Count! 30 Days Cancer Prayer

“So how do I take the 30 Days momentum and have it strengthen my Cancer Companions ministry?” “More Participants?” “More Volunteers?”

Let’s do this by building a COMMUNITY around your Cancer Companion team so people are aware of who you are and what you do.
CHECK THIS OUT: Any Cancer Companion church can use these steps whether you actively participated in 30 Days 2020 or not.

 CLICK HERE for “Update” email template

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“Update” Email Template- Make It Count Campaign

Template Church Make It Count Update Email

SUBJECT LINE: Update: 30 Days of Cancer Prayer

Dear _____________,

Did you hear 30 Days of Cancer Prayer, the virtual prayer event sponsored by Cancer Companions, blew away all expectations?  If you joined us, you were certainly not praying alone.

On the first day of the 30 day event, we reached over 10,000 people between just the Day 1 cancer prayer video and the Facebook Live Kickoff event video.  And that was just the first day!  It is empowering to know so many were battling cancer one prayer at a time.

It is a joy to be on the Cancer Companion team here at ____________________.(add church name).  What do we do?  We connect with those in cancer treatment, post treatment, caregivers and loved ones through 2 roles: weekly Cancer Prayer Partners, or Cancer Bible Study Facilitators.  (Add picture of your team here, if available.)

The connection that comes during the 30 Days of Cancer Prayer is remarkable.  Since you also have an interest in cancer prayer, I thought of a few ways we could stay connected:

  1. If you are coping with cancer, would you like a request prayer and/or a Cancer Prayer Partner to connect weekly to see what topics they can prayer for you? Contact me at _________________. Your Email address.
  2. If you have a heart for helping others, would you like to learn more about becoming a Cancer Companions Volunteer? Let me know at ____________. Your Email address.
  3. If you wonder how others are coping with cancer, would you like to attend ________________________. (State your next event. group? Prayer service?)   This will be held on _____________(List the dates and times i.e. 2nd Tuesdays at 6:30pm) at____ (location).  Flyer attached.
  4. If you know people coping with cancer, attached is a flyer with more information which you are welcome to share with others. Feel free to bring your friend- it’s often easier that way.

It would be nice to stay connected this year on one of the above topics and I am looking forward to reconnecting with you next January for 30 Days of Cancer Prayer 2021.  There will be a quarterly email to let you know other Christian cancer ministry opportunities through our Cancer Companion team.

Blessings to you and yours,

____________ your name

_____________ your Email

____________ your Cancer Companion Team phone number.

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God is Bigger Than Stress Management

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have taught my share of stress management classes over the years.  Let me give you the short version:

#1 Our bodies are made to react to danger.

#2 This reaction is called fight or flight so that when danger comes, your body automatically makes your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate increase.  Why? So you can fight or flee the danger.

#3 After the threat is gone, your body returns to normal.

Let’s say there’s a bear roaring at you in the woods.   You are like “Oh no!  It’s a bear!”  Your body immediately gets all pumped up so it’s ready to either fight or flee the bear.  This is pretty intense.

Part of stress management is recognizing that sometimes it’s not a bear.  It’s a hamster, but you’re reacting like it’s a bear.  Continue reading

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Facing Cancer Together Devotion- Excerpt

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

One way to see how minimizing can play a role in your cancer walk is to look at the ways  people share or do not share about their cancer with those they love.

People diagnosed with cancer…
• Might protect the people they love from the difficulty of their cancer treatment.
• Might not share the severity of their discomfort, fatigue or pain.
• Might not tell of their fears for their future or the future for those they love.
• Might feel that “No one wants to hear about my cancer.”
Caregivers and loved ones…
• Might protect the person with the diagnosis by not sharing stressful topics affecting the
caregiver and others.
• Might not share about struggles with finances, maintaining the household, their own fatigue or even the caregiver’s health.
• Might feel that “No one wants to hear about the cancer.”
Sharing on your Cancer Journey
What about you? Find Changes in Your Sharing Score
▶ Place an X to indicate how much you shared at each phase of your cancer
journey.
How much did you share about the difficulties in your life with those you
love…
Before the diagnosis:
Very Little / Some Things /Almost Everything
1_______2_______3_______4_______5_______
Beginning of Treatment:
Very Little / Some Things /Almost Everything
1_______2_______3_______4_______5_______
Now:
Very Little / Some Things /Almost Everything
1_______2_______3_______4_______5_______
▶ Do you see changes in your Sharing Scores? How?
Share your response if you would like.

The problem is that the people you are protecting are the ones you’ve shared your struggles with throughout your life. Raising kids, financial difficulties, grief, loss- it’s our
loved ones that we turn to through these. Now cancer has come, and as both a patient and a caregiver, we protect our loved ones from the strain it is having on us.  “They have enough on their plates. They don’t need to worry about me.” Does this sound like minimizing?
It may help to think of minimizing from the flip side.
▶ Imagine someone you love going through a very hard time, but to you they minimized the problem. “Not a big deal.”  Much later you find out how difficult the struggle really was. If you’d known how large the struggle was, do you think the Lord could have used you to lessen that person’s load, even if primarily through companionship and prayer?
Yes/No Why or why not?

Share your response if you would like.

Too often dark lies creep into our thinking: “It’s hard being alone so much, but it’s silly to have someone come just to visit with me.”  “There’s nothing they can do to stop the cancer,
so it’s better for everyone if I don’t say how hard this has been.”
▶ Half of these sentences above are true and half are lies. Circle the truths.
There is a loneliness and isolation that can stifle a patient, survivor and caregiver on a cancer walk. The truth? God designed us to live in community. That’s where the joy of the
Lord is easiest to touch. By sharing the truth of your struggle, you can receive the gentle
companionship God desires for you.
 “By sharing the truth of my struggle, I can receive the
gentle companionship God desires for me.”

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NFL Star Kurt Warner Focus on Cancer Caregivers on Big Game Sunday

NFL Star Kurt Warner Focus on Cancer Caregivers on Big Game Sunday

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

St Louis, MO:  NFL Star Kurt Warner has built a reputation of being a dynamic leader and athlete as well as a willingness to help those who are struggling.  This Big Game Sunday will find Kurt shining a light on the difficulties of cancer caregivers.  On Sunday, February 2nd Kurt Warner will be leading the nation virtually in a prayer for cancer care givers as part of the 30 Days of Cancer Prayer event.

Kurt has a clarity of the role of a caregiver not just in regards to cancer but our society as a whole.   “We live in a society where I feel like so many give simply due to an expectation of what they are going to receive,” Warner explains.  “With caregivers we know that there is very little that they receive. That it is so much giving.”

Yet Kurt’s understanding of caregiving is not just on a larger, societal level.  He shares the deeply personal sacrifices caregivers face each day.  About caregiver’s Warner explains “We understand that they take their own journey.  They take on their own pain.  They take on their own suffering.  They are unselfishly giving of themselves in so many ways solely to have impact on so many that they are caring for.”

Participants to 30 Days of Cancer Prayer (www.30dayscancerprayer.com) receive daily cancer prayer videos from prominent Christians by phone, email or Facebook.  The virtual aspect of the event enables individuals both nationally and internationally to join together in cancer prayer.  Register by texting the word “cancer” to 57838.  The event is sponsored by Cancer Companions.

Cancer Companions, President Karen Tripp explains the importance of Kurt’s focus on caregivers.  “Cancer care givers are often overlooked.  “Think about when you approach a couple where one of them has been diagnosed.  The typical reaction is to ask the cancer patient “Are you alright?  Is there anything I can do?”  The truth is that most needs of the cancer patient (managing meds, watching diet, arrange appointments, look out for side effects) can not be done by a committee.  They need to be done by the care giver.  The problem? That’s a lot of responsibility on one person.  So perhaps we should be asking the caregiver “Are you alright?  Is there anything I can do?”  The truth is, friends and family need to care for the caregiver so the care giver can take care of the patient.”  30 Days of Cancer Prayer is sponsored by Cancer Companions, a cancer ministry which serves anyone in cancer treatment, post cancer treatment and their caregivers.

Statement by Kurt Warner NFL Quarterback

“So many choose to live a selfish life.  These caregivers choosing to live so unselfishly choosing to take on a journey they do not necessarily have to take on; to take on a burden they do not necessarily have to take on but they accept that role.”

Statement by Karen Tripp MS LMFT President of Cancer Companions

“To have Kurt Warner drawing attention to the hardships of cancer caregivers is a game changer.   Too often caregivers feel as though their struggle is insignificant because ‘it’s not as bad as the person with cancer,’ and that is certainly true.  However, the burden of caregiving often leads to physical, and emotional exhaustion.  What caregivers need is a place to share but many fall into believing ‘Things are worse for them so who am I to talk?’”  With Kurt’s clear and powerful understanding of caregiving, we are hoping this will give care givers permission to seek the support they need.”

“It can be said that on the day of a cancer diagnosis, more people are impacted than the patient.  This statement particularly applies to the cancer caregiver.”

About 30 Days of Cancer Prayer: For 2020, 30 Days of Cancer Prayer will run from January 26th- February 24th gathering people nationwide to pray for cancer topics including everything from finances, to chemotherapy to breast cancer. The daily video prayers can be received by phone, email or Facebook.  To register go to www.30dayscancerprayer.com  Event is sponsored by Cancer Companions. www.cancer-companions.org

###

Editor Note: For images or further information contact Meagan@cancer-companions.org

Karen Tripp

Cancer Companions

314-814-0044

Karen@cancer-companions.org

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Order of Service 30 Day Cancer Prayer Kickoff Service 2020

Order of Worship   

30 Days Cancer Prayer 2020 Kickoff Prayer Service

Welcome:

  • Welcome: In audience in The Crave and Facebook live audience.
  • Please leave prayer requests in comments section of Facebook.
  • Order of service is at cancer-companions.org/blog

Musical Performance: St Gabriel’s Children Choir

Scripture Presentation

Whose fight is cancer?                    The Lord’s

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s,” 1 Samuel 17:47a

This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged …. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  2 Chronicles 20:15b

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6b

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31b

Continue reading

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